Jules Bianchi tributes paid at Hungarian Grand Prix, drivers form ring, Sebastian Vettel dedicates victory to driver

Bianchi died last weekend following a crash at last year's Japanese Grand Prix

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The Independent Online

Sebastian Vettel dedicated his win in the Hungarian Grand Prix to Jules Bianchi on an emotional afternoon in Formula One.

The French driver died last week at the age of 25 from injuries sustained in a head-on crash at the Japanese Grand Prix last October.

"Merci Jules, cette victoire est pour toi," (Thank you Jules, this win is for you)," Vettel said in French on race radio after taking the chequered flag, before continuing in English. "You are always in our hearts, sooner or later we know you would have been in this team."

A poignant minute's silence was held for Bianchi before the race, with drivers forming a ring and placing their race helmets on the ground.

Bianchi's mother Christine and father Philippe, brother Tom and sister Melanie were asked by the drivers to join them in the ring as they all linked arms on the Hungaroring grid.

Drivers have worn tributes such as "Ciao Jules" or "JB 17" — Bianchi's initials and car number — this weekend as part of tributes.

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Fernando Alonso of Spain and McLaren Honda comforts Jules Bianchi's brother Tom

 

Several drivers shook hands or hugged the Bianchi family, who were invited to the circuit by Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone.

Brazilian driver Felipe Massa, visibly shaken, had his right arm tightly wrapped around the shoulder of Bianchi's father, while two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso — who grew close to Bianchi when the Frenchman was a Ferrari test driver — gazed into the distance thoughtfully as a singer performed a remembrance song.

Assembled together in a thick line of red-suited bodies, Bianchi's Manor Marussia team stood behind a big sign which simply read "We Miss You Jules."

The only sound to be heard, apart from the solemn strains of the small group of musicians, was the flutter of a helicopter overhead draping the Hungarian flag over the assembled group of mourners.

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A tribute on the grid to Jules Bianchi

 

After the impeccably observed silence, fans broke out into loud and sustained applause.

"I left it all on the track today. I gave it everything and I owe my race to Jules," Daniel Ricciardo said after finishing third. "I gained extra strength today and I owe that to him."