Niki Lauda: F1 legend dies, aged 70

Last updated at 08:33
Niki LaudaGetty Images

Formula One legend Niki Lauda has died at the age of 70.

He won the F1 World title three times in the 1970's and 80's and later became an important figure within the Mercedes Formula 1 team.

He had been instrumental in Lewis Hamilton's five World Championship titles.

He underwent a lung transplant in August, but "passed away peacefully" on Monday 20 May, his family said.

Lewis Hamilton and Niki LaudaGetty Images
Who was Niki Lauda?

Niki was born in Vienna, Austria in 1949 and drove in his first F1 race when he was just 22.

During his driving career, which spanned 14 years, he was a part of five different F1 teams: March, BRM, Ferrari, Brabham and McLaren.

He was involved in a significant crash at the German Grand Prix in 1976, where he suffered severe burns to his face and ear.

He made a remarkable recovery and was back in a car just six weeks later.

Despite missing two races that season, he was the runner up in the World Championships, losing to on-track rival James Hunt by one point.

The amazing story was made into a film called Rush in 2013.

Daniel Bruhl who was in Captain America: Civil War, played Niki and James Hunt was played by Thor actor Chris Hemsworth.

How F1 drivers have reacted to the sad news:

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has called Niki a 'legend':

Valtteri BottasTwitter/ValtteriBottas

Former F1 driver Fernando Alonso has said he was shocked by the news:

Fernando AlonsoTwitter

Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo says he appreciates the legacy Lauda leaves:

Daniel RiccardoInstagram/DanielRicciardo

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has said Nikki was someone he had great respect for:

Max VerstappenTwitter/MaxVerstappen

Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg said he was a "special person":

Nico-HulkenbergTwitter/NicoHulkenberg