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Family, friends and fans attend funeral of Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda

Family, friends and fans attend funeral of Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda
By Rachael Kennedy
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The funeral for Formula 1 champion Niki Lauda got underway in Vienna on Wednesday, with family, friends and fans in attendance.


Family, friends and fans paid their final respects to motor racing legend Niki Lauda at a funeral in Vienna on Wednesday.

Lauda, who won three F1 titles in 1975, 1977 and 1984, died in hospital last week after undergoing a lung transplant.

He was 70 years old.

A rainy start to the day in the Austrian capital didn't prevent fans from paying their last respect to the motor racing icon as hundreds of mourners stood with umbrellas outside St Stephen's cathedral ahead of the funeral.

After Lauda's coffin was carried into the cathedral to lie in state, his son Lukas was pictured placing his father's helmet on top.

Fans were then invited inside to file past the coffin and pay tribute, before the start of the private funeral.

The wooden coffin was decked with a black ribbon and wreath, while several white candles surrounded it.

Two further rose wreaths were stood behind the coffin alongside two portraits of Lauda.

Among those in attendance were Lauda's wife Birgit, his children, motor racing star Lewis Hamilton, and Hollywood actor Daniel Bruhl, who played Lauda in the 2013 movie Rush.

Lauda's widow Birgit at St Stephen's cathedral
Hollywood actor Daniel Bruhl played Lauda in the 2013 movie Rush

Directed by Ron Howard, Rush re-told the story of the notorious rivalry between Lauda (Bruhl) and British racing driver James Hunt, who was played by Chris Hemsworth.

It also depicted the fiery crash at the German Grand Prix in 1976 that left Lauda with severe burns.

Despite his injuries, the champion returned to racing just weeks later.

He retired from racing in 1985.

F1 legend Lewis Hamilton was among the guests at the funeral
Four-time F1 champion Alain Prost was in attendance at the funeral

In 2016, Lauda was awarded a lifetime achievement award that he dedicated in his speech "to the losers".

Throwing back to the moment on Twitter, Formula 1 said the dedication "said everything" about who Lauda was.

In the speech, he said: "I've seen a lot of people here winning and losing. So I would like to dedicate this award to the losers."

"Because I tell you from my own experience, winning is one thing. But out of losing, I always learned more for the future. I got stronger from losing."

Arnold Schwarzenegger arrives at St Stephen's cathedral
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