Ferrari F1's Vettel explains handwritten letter to ill Lauda in '18

Sebastian Vettel says his "no-brainer" decision to write a letter to Niki Lauda when the three-time Formula 1 champion fell ill last year was done out of "respect"

Ferrari F1's Vettel explains handwritten letter to ill Lauda in '18

Lauda, who died earlier this week at the age of 70, had a lung transplant in the summer of 2018.

He said at the end of last year that the handwritten note he received from Vettel while in hospital was a "great pleasure".

Asked in the build-up to the Monaco Grand Prix about writing that letter, following Lauda's passing, Vettel said that "respect says it all".

"I heard he's not doing well and not doing well for a while, and he wasn't in the mood to pick up the phone or the state to talk over the phone," said Vettel.

"You think what would you appreciate if you were in that situation? Just reading a little note is a nice thing.

"For me, it was a no-brainer and a sign of respect."

The heroism, horror and hurt of Lauda at Ferrari

Vettel, an enthusiast of F1 history, called it a "privilege" to have spent time with Lauda, who was a key figure for Ferrari.

He said he had taken the opportunity "to ask him all sorts of things: how the cars were, how the time was with Ferrari, how was Enzo Ferrari".

Vettel said that his respect was based on "what he's achieved, the person he is, what he's done for the sport".

"I feel privileged I had the chance to not just know him, but chat with him regularly, enjoy jokes with him and so on," said Vettel.

"His sense of humour was very straight. Sometimes you couldn't tell if it was just a joke or just a statement. I certainly enjoyed that.

"You don't come across people like him very often, not just in F1 but in general.

"He was a unique person."

Lauda went on to become non-executive chairman of the rival Mercedes team but Vettel said he was always a "gentleman".

He joked that Lauda had such an "honest tongue" that "I think sometimes people were not thinking he was telling the truth when he was".

Asked what Lauda was like compared to what people who only saw him on TV would have known, Vettel said: "He was just like that. There's a lot of people that are not the way you see them on television. They are growing in numbers, quickly!

"But Niki wasn't one of them. He was who he was. He never pretended to be anything or anybody else.

"He was very outspoken, a true character, a true racer, passionate for the sport - a lot of things people respected.

"He's leaving a big gap that we won't be able to fill."

shares
comments
Red Bull ditches nose scoop for F1 Monaco Grand Prix, updates floor

Previous article

Red Bull ditches nose scoop for F1 Monaco Grand Prix, updates floor

Next article

Mercedes to run special Lauda tribute branding at 2019 F1 Monaco GP

Mercedes to run special Lauda tribute branding at 2019 F1 Monaco GP
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Sebastian Vettel
Teams Ferrari
Author Scott Mitchell
The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey Plus

The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey

In the first part of our history of Lotus, DAMIEN SMITH recalls how Formula 1 wasn’t an immediate priority for team founder Colin Chapman – but once he got a taste for it he just couldn’t stop…

How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher Plus

How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher

Lewis Hamilton has just become the first driver to record 100 world championship Formula 1 pole positions. Time to revisit a debate we discussed when he reached 150 front row starts in 2020.

Formula 1
May 8, 2021
Why sustainability is being mandated by F1 Plus

Why sustainability is being mandated by F1

Continuing to be socially acceptable as public views shift globally is vitally important to the future of motor racing, says PAT SYMONDS - especially in Formula 1, the championship that represents the technological peak

Formula 1
May 8, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull's title credentials, and heap pressure on Verstappen Plus

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull's title credentials, and heap pressure on Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one big encouraging sign for Red Bull. The trouble is, it looks like making good on that gain will require its superstar driver to avoid repeating a mistake made today that left him well down the FP2 order

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Plus

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his team-mate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Plus

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Plus

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warmup. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021