John Surtees dead: Damon Hill leads tributes to former F1 world champion after his death at the age of 83

The 1964 F1 world champion passed away on Friday

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Formula One world champion Damon Hill led the tributes to John Surtees after the British racing legend died on Friday at the age of 83.

Surtees is regarded as one of the finest individuals in motor racing history due to his exploits on both two and four wheels, and he remains the only man to win world championships both in F1 and motorbikes.

The 1964 world champion passed away on Friday afternoon, with the Henry Surtees Foundation – set-up in memory of his son who died in a Formula Two accident eight years ago – confirming his death via its Facebook page.

The announcement triggered a number of tributes and messages of condolences from the world of motorsport, with words such as “icon”, “pioneer” and “true great” used to describe Surtees,

1996 F1 world champion Hill was one of the first to take to Twitter and express his sadness. He wrote: “Such a lovely man. We have lost a true great motorsport legend. RIP John. #JohnSurtees.”

Recently appointed Mercedes driver, Valterri Bottas, wrote: “Sad news today. It was great to meet you legend. RIP John Surtees.”

The tributes were not confined to the world of four wheels, as ex-MotoGP rider Jeremy McWilliams said: “Very sorry to hear that one of my hero's John Surtees passed away today. Could have listened to this man’s amazing tales for hours.”

A number of current F1 teams took time out from the final day of pre-season testing in Barcelona to sends their condolences, with the F1 Twitter account also paying tribute to Surtees.

Surtees raced in over 100 F1 Grand Prixs during his career on four wheels – in which he also finished runner-up to Jack Brabham in 1966 – and he won the 500cc world championship four times during his motorcycle career, riding on an MV Augusta as well as on a Norton in his earlier years.

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