Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel

When Austrian legend Niki Lauda passed away, the Formula One fraternity was devastated. Earlier this week, the funeral was held and several drivers were in attendance, including Lewis Hamilton. However, one name was missing on the list, that of Sebastian Vettel.

However, before anyone can chew him out for being disrespectful, he had a valid reason for his no-show. According to reports from German website, sport.de, Sebastian Vettel had a prior commitment. Long before Lauda’s passing, the 4-time World champion signed up to help launch the latest Ferrari supercar.

However, Sebastian Vettel did pay tribute to the late Lauda at the Monaco Grand Prix in his own way. He sported a helmet which was similar to the F1 legend’s famous red design. Unfortunately for Sebastian Vettel, he could only muster 3rd, which became 2nd after Max Verstappen’s penalty.

Sebastian Vettel
Niki Lauda

After the race, Vettel offered kind words dedicated to Lauda: “I think he will always be around. We will definitely miss him. I think he’s been an icon in the past and will be in the future. So, my thoughts are with his family, and with him.”

Among the funeral attendees were, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Toto Wolff and Alain Prost. The ceremony took place at St Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna as last respects were paid to Lauda.

Meanwhile, Vettel was in Italy at the launch of the hybrid road car, the SF90 Stradale. The Stradale is a road-legal car that borrows technology from the Maranello outfit’s 2019 F1 car.

The event in Maranello featured a minute’s silence to honour Lauda, who won two of his three world titles with the Scuderia, in 1975 and 1977. So, even though Sebastian Vettel was not physically present at the funeral, he paid tribute in his own way.

Despite being from the opposite side of the garage, Vettel showcased immense respect for Lauda. In particular was his helmet, which he used while competing in the Monaco Grand Prix which paved a special tribute to Lauda.

Vettel even revealed he wrote a letter to Lauda himself when the Austrian was particularly unwell over the past one year.

“I heard he was 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.”

Vettel and Niki Lauda