The world of Formula 1 has bid farewell to one of its brightest stars. On Tuesday, mourners gathered in Nice for the funeral of driver Jules Bianchi, following his tragic death on Friday at just 25 years old.
World champion Lewis Hamilton was among the hundreds of people who gathered at the Sainte-Reparte Cathedral to pay their respects. Dressed in suit and dark sunglasses, the 30-year-old Brit joined a number of fellow drivers - including Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button - to remember Jules, who never regained consciousness after a devastating crash at the Japanese Grand Prix on 5 October.
Lewis Hamilton attended the funeral for Jules Bianchi in Nice
Lewis, who paid an emotive tribute to Jules on social media, stood sombrely alongside devastated family, friends and colleagues including Jules' father Philippe.
Pallbearers carried Jules' coffin inside the cathedral shortly after 9am, while his race helmet was also taken into the service. Two large portraits of the Frenchman hung outside the entrance.
Mourners gathered outside the cathedral
Jules became the first driver to die of injuries sustained in a Formula One race since three-time world champion Ayrton Senna lost his life at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. Jules had been in a coma for nine months, when his heartbroken family confirmed that he had passed away.
"It is with deep sadness that the parents of Jules Bianchi, Philippe and Christine, his brother Tom and sister Melanie, wish to make it known that Jules passed away last night at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Nice, where he was admitted following the accident of 5th October 2014 at Suzuka Circuit during the Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix," a statement read.
Jules Bianchi's heartbroken father Philippe
"Jules fought to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end. The pain we feel is immense and indescribable…"
On Monday, Lewis posted a touching tribute to Jules, accompanied by a picture of his newborn niece. "I've just got to meet my beautiful new niece Willow," he captioned the photo. "She was born only hours after Jules passed away. I feel like God needed an angel & chose Jules, at the same time born a new angel to be one day.
I've just got to meet my beautiful new niece Willow. She was born only hours after Jules passed away. I feel like God needed an angel & chose Jules, at the same time born a new angel to be one day. I pray that she gets to see the wonders of the world, as an uncle I will try to protect her from the bad & help guide her through the good. #family #precious #RIPJules #GodBless #timeisallwehave
Lewis previously posted an emotive tribute to Jules on Instagram
"I pray that she gets to see the wonders of the world, as an uncle I will try to protect her from the bad & help guide her through the good. #family #precious #RIPJules #GodBless #timeisallwehave."
David Beckham was also among the sports stars who honoured the late F1 driver. "Jules Bianchi may he rest in peace," he wrote. "Our thoughts are with his family and friends."
David Beckham also remembered the tragic 25-year-old
Jenson, meanwhile, said: "Last night we lost a truly great guy and a real fighter. RIP Jules, my sincerest condolences to his family and friends."
It was announced on Monday that the FIA would permanently retire Jules' car number, 17, from Formula One. It is also expected that the grid will observe a one-minute silence ahead of Sunday's race in Hungary.