Voor de tweede maal dit jaar heeft de dood een iconisch figuur uit de Formule 1-wereld gestolen. Aan de vooravond van het nieuwe seizoen liet racedirecteur Charlie Whiting het leven, vannacht overleed Niki Lauda na 43 jaar alsnog aan de complicaties van zijn tragische ongeluk op de Nürburgring.
Dat de dood van Niki Lauda een grote impact zou hebben, dat stond wel vast. De bikkelharde Oostenrijker was zonder meer een van de meest pure personen die de wereld ooit in actie heeft mogen zien. Zijn ongekende doorzettingsvermogen geldt zelfs ver buiten de perken van autosport als een inspiratie. Toen ondergetekende vanochtend het nieuws las, werd hij dan ook gegrepen en overweldigd door de liefde die er bestaat voor de beste man. Nimmer werden de tijdlijnen van zijn social media zodanig overspoeld door één enkel onderwerp. Hierom hebben we hieronder een aantal van de mooiste berichten verzameld, om aan te tonen hoeveel waardering men heeft voor het leven en het karakter van Niki.
Rest in peace Niki Lauda.
Forever carried in our hearts, forever immortalised in our history. The motorsport community today mourns the devastating loss of a true legend.
The thoughts of everyone at F1 are with his friends and family. pic.twitter.com/olmnjDaefo
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 21, 2019
Everyone at Ferrari is deeply saddened at the news of the death of our dear friend Niki Lauda. He won two of his three world championships with us and will always be in our hearts and in those of all Ferrari fans. Our sincere condolences go to all his family and friends.#CiaoNiki pic.twitter.com/mbzZBNZiRZ
❤ Niki, 1949 – 2019 pic.twitter.com/tMPi7s2ODE
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) May 21, 2019
“First of all, on behalf of the team and all at Mercedes, I wish to send our deepest condolences to Birgit, Niki’s children, his family and close friends. Niki will always remain one of the greatest legends of our sport – he combined heroism, humanity and honesty inside and outside the cockpit. His passing leaves a void in Formula 1. We haven’t just lost a hero who staged the most remarkable comeback ever seen, but also a man who brought precious clarity and candour to modern Formula 1. He will be greatly missed as our voice of common sense.” – Toto Wolff
A champion. A legend. A friend.
Ruhe in Frieden Niki. pic.twitter.com/dZ7CJmi5nC
— Aston Martin Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) May 21, 2019
Rest in peace Niki Lauda. A legend, champion and our 1985 winner.
Our thoughts are with his friends and family. pic.twitter.com/TtLjXACsPC
— Circuit Zandvoort (@CPZtweets) May 21, 2019
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) May 21, 2019
I thought you were invincible
Farewell Niki pic.twitter.com/dg1rJcgKEx
— Will Buxton (@wbuxtonofficial) May 21, 2019
Dear Niki… pic.twitter.com/nsJk2z1qAM
— Nico Rosberg (@nico_rosberg) May 21, 2019
When you get a second life, literally, you can laugh all the way to the end of that second life. Niki Lauda' second life lasted nearly 43 years…
He was both a hero and a legend, a very rare occurence.
Goodbye Niki, you will be sadly missed. pic.twitter.com/DWByDmUmiM
— Paul-Henri Cahier (@F1Photo) May 21, 2019
I always thought he was somehow indestructible. I was wrong, for today we’ve learned of the extremely sad passing of one of the greatest #F1 drivers of all time. #RIPNikiLauda. He’d been unwell for a while, but I’ll always remember him like this: flying high, flat-out. #Godspeed pic.twitter.com/09ibDx9tKf
— Matt Bishop (@TheBishF1) May 21, 2019
Niki Lauda was a hero of motor sport, who inspired me in my youth. He is a milestone in the history of @F1 . All my thoughts go out to his family, friends and @MercedesAMGF1 team.#NikiLauda #F1 pic.twitter.com/aAoIVwexZU
— Jean Todt (@JeanTodt) May 21, 2019
A fond memory of Niki Lauda. Valencia 2010 he was a TV pundit and had just landed Saturday morning. "Is Alonso going to get pole?" he asked. "Dunno, Niki." Niki: "Tell me. I'm about to talk to 8 million people."
— Mark Hughes (@SportmphMark) May 21, 2019
Pretty typical of Niki that he has died in 2019 as a result of complications arising from injuries in 1976… He really didn’t give a shit about anything that didn’t interest him, death included. #F1
— Mark Gallagher (@_markgallagher) May 21, 2019
Today, motorsport has lost the King of all comebacks. Three time Formula 1 world champion Niki Lauda has sadly passed away aged 70. Auf Wiedersehen Niki, you will be truly missed, and the thoughts of everyone at Team MSI are very much with your family and friends right now. pic.twitter.com/0SLbwvxbvQ
— Motorsport Images (@MSI_Images) May 21, 2019
Niki Lauda, for a child growing up in the 70s, he personified F1 and probably made F1 what it is today.
May he rest in peace, but that wasn't his style and I wouldn't be surprised to see him back!
— Craig Scarborough (@ScarbsTech) May 21, 2019
The term ‘Hero’ is much abused but, for me, Niki Lauda was a true hero, not just because of what he did in a racing car before and after the accident in 1976, but the way he took on Boeing after the LaudaAir crash. His searing honesty and humour made him a delight to know. RIP
— Maurice Hamilton (@MauriceHamilton) May 21, 2019
First Hunt and now Lauda. Two of the greatest drivers who didn’t care about how they looked or what they said. Always a straight answer to a straight question without any of the modern bullshit. Two icons together forever and never to be forgotten.
— Tiff Needell (@tiff_tv) May 21, 2019
A real loss to Sport and a big hole in our hearts. Courageous, chatty, and extremely funny. I am going to miss you being around the @F1 paddock but the legend of Niki Lauda will live on, because you were a very very special man. Thanks for all the memories #3timesWC @SkySportsF1 pic.twitter.com/aUIRML0lNv
— Johnny Herbert (@johnnyherbertf1) May 21, 2019
RIP Niki ! 😰 Today a true hero left us! Thanks Niki for the inspiration you have been to so many, for the directness you have always applied, the amazing speed & fighting spirit you had. We will miss you, but never forget you. My condolences to Niki's family and friends. 😢 pic.twitter.com/80rnHgoi3L
— alex wurz (@alex_wurz) May 21, 2019