Lewis Hamilton says that, despite being reminded of the dangers of motorsport, he and his rivals will race hard in memory of the late Jules Bianchi this weekend.
The reigning world champion was among the mourners at Bianchi's funeral earlier this week, and admits that the Frenchman will be on his mind going forward, particularly as the F1 season heads into the final race of its first half, in Hungary, this weekend.
Hamilton had to give best to Daniel Ricciardo after a contentious Hungaroring race twelve months, unwittingly bringing his intra-team rivalry with Nico Rosberg to a head at the subsequent Belgian Grand Prix, but concedes that that will be furthest from his mind as he takes to the track on Friday morning.
“Hungary is a beautiful place, one of my favourites, but I will be carrying Jules with me in my prayers and thoughts, not only this race but for the rest of my driving days,” the Briton explained, “Saying goodbye to Jules was incredibly hard for everyone. I wished I had known him better but, from what I knew of him, he was a kind heart with a great spirit and a bright future. I know he'd want us to race hard as he did, and so I will.”
Despite Bianchi's ultimately fatal accident happening nine months before his death, the Frenchman's funeral stirred up emotions amongst the F1 fraternity all over again, and Hamilton admitted that the sport needed to remain focused on safety.
“Now our sport embarks on a tough road ahead,” he reflected, “We have been shown once more the dangers of our sport, that these should be respected and that we drivers commit ourselves to the chance that those dangers are there when we step into the car. We have made great progress for safety thus far and I know that the FIA will continue to make steps forward to improve even further.”
Hamilton carries a 17-point championship advantage to Hungary following his victory on home soil at Silverstone earlier this month, but ten rounds remain before the season finale in Abu Dhabi.