A number of Formula One drivers have given their tributes and thoughts on the passing of former McLaren doctor Aki Hintsa, who died of cancer aged 58.

McLaren confirmed the news that Dr Aki Hintsa had died after a long battle against cancer on Wednesday and his passing had a lasting effect on F1 drivers.

An immensely popular figure throughout the F1 paddock, Hintsa studied as a doctor in his native Finland before heading to Ethiopia as a missionary doctor in 1992. After splitting his time between Finland and Ethiopia and working with Olympic and World champion 10,000 metre champion Haile Gebrselassie he turned his attention to working in sports medicine.

Hintsa entered the world of F1 by helping Mika Hakkinen recover from his 1995 Australia Grand Prix crash and was considered a key role in helping the Finn claim the 1998 and 1999 world championships.

After a brief stint as chief medical officer for the Finnish Olympic team, Hintsa joined McLaren in 2003 as team physician before moving on to chief medical officer in 2006.

Hintsa spent 11 years with the British team, working with both Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton on their ways to F1 world titles and also set up Hintsa Performance which helped Olympic athletes and racing drivers. The Finn's final appearance in the F1 paddock was at Monza in September.

F1 drivers have paid tributes to the efforts of Hintsa and say the doctor will be thoroughly missed.

A McLaren statement read: "Doing that successfully is far from easy, but undoubtedly Aki achieved it. He was taken from us far too soon, aged just 58, but he packed more into his all-too-brief life than did many who lived almost twice as long. And, in so doing, he illuminated the lives of everyone he met, friendly and funny and kind and wise as he invariably was.

"God bless you, dear friend. You will be missed. Indeed, you will be missed more than these words can say, and more than you will ever know."

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