F1 drivers pay tribute and Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali has published a short message in recognition of Brazilian football legend Pele, who died on Thursday 29 December at the age of 82. Pele is widely regarded as arguably the greatest ever athlete in any sport.
On Thursday 29 December 2022, King Pele passed away at the age of 82 at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo where he was admitted at the end of November.
Since the announcement of his death, the tributes have been pouring in. Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappé and Neymar all had words for the three-time world champion.
Regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time, Pele attended several Formula One Grand Prix races during his lifetime, including the Brazilian Grand Prix, where he was able to present the trophy to the winner on the podium. Nicknamed “The King”, Pele is the only football player to have won the World Cup three times in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
King Pele, who had been in hospital for a month at Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, died of colon cancer at the age of 82. Since the announcement of his death by his daughter Kely Nascimento, tributes have multiplied and the CEO of Formula 1 also wanted to publish a short message.
“I am very sad to hear the news of the death of Pele, one of the greatest footballers of all time,” wrote Domenicali in a short statement.
“He was a shining light for all of Brazil and millions of people around the world. His skill, his smile and his intelligence will live on forever. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”
Pele and Formula 1, a close link
But Pele’s death does not only affect football players. The Brazilian had a worldwide impact on all sports, not least in Formula 1. Pele had the opportunity to wave the chequered flag at the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2002, which was won by Michael Schumacher at the time. His death has left its mark on Formula One and Lewis Hamilton in particular has been vocal since the Brazilians demise.
“Pele’s legacy will inspire us forever
“We have lost a legend today. Thank you for sharing your talent, genius and love with us. Pele’s legacy will inspire us forever and ever,” the seven-time world champion wrote on Instagram, before posting with a King Pele jersey himself:
“It was so important to get this from the legend himself. I will always keep it safe with me…”
Pierre Gasly also had strong words for Pele. “The King of football. Rest in peace legend”, posted the French driver.