Villeneuve And Prince Albert Remember Lauda

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Tributes continue to pour in for Formula One great Niki Lauda, with 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve describing him as an iconic character of the sport.

Lauda's death at the age of 70 was announced on Tuesday, and an array of F1 stars past and present have since spoken of their admiration for the three-time world champion. The Austrian claimed drivers' titles in 1975, 1977 and 1984, despite being involved in a near-fatal crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.

He also played an instrumental role in Mercedes' recent dominance of the sport, having worked with the Silver Arrows as their non-executive chairman.

Speaking to reporters at an event in Monaco, Villeneuve said: "He was an iconic character of Formula One. He marked his era. And he was still important in the field after his career. He was very important politically, especially for Mercedes. He always said what he thought. Not everyone liked that, but thanks to him, some things changed." 

Lauda was victorious twice at the Monaco Grand Prix, which will be held in Monte Carlo this weekend, winning in '75 and '76.

Prince Albert of Monaco added of Lauda: "He was a great champion, he was a great man. We saw him often in Monaco. He won the Monaco Grand Prix twice. He had a successful professional life, after his driver career. He was a person I liked to discuss with.

"He always had a relevant vision of motorsport world. But not only that. We talked about economy, politics... you could talk about many things with Niki Lauda. He left his mark on Formula One history. And he left his mark on life of people who met him."