Drivers say final farewells 
to tragic colleague Bianchi

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The funeral of Formula One driver Jules Bianchi was held in his home town in France yesterday, as tributes continued to pour in for the racer who died of head injuries sustained in a crash during last year’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Bianchi’s number 17 is being retired from Formula One and tributes are expected at the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend. He died on Friday, having been in a coma for nine months.

The 25-year-old competed in 34 races during the 2013 and 2014 seasons, scoring the first ever championship points for the Manor-Marussia team by finishing ninth at last year’s Monaco Grand Prix.

He was the first driver to die of injuries sustained in an F1 race since three-time world champion Ayrton Senna was killed at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

F1 stars Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg and four-times champion Alain Prost were among mourners at the funeral service in Nice.

Solemn applause resonated as Bianchi’s family carried the coffin inside Sainte Reparate Cathedral. Church bells sounded during the funeral.

Other attendees included executives from the Manor-Marussia F1 team, FIA president Jean Todt and his son Nicolas, Bianchi’s manager.

Large posters of Bianchi were draped outside the cathedral entrance.