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Lewis Hamilton has paid tribute following the death of McLaren shareholder Mansour Ojjeh at the age of 68. Ojjeh, who bought into McLaren in 1984 alongside Ron Dennis, was a key figure in the constructor’s ensuing success in Formula One
McLaren confirmed Ojjeh’s death on Sunday morning ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after a career spanning over 40 years, winning 10 drivers’ titles, with Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen, and Hamilton, and nine constructors’ championships.
In a statement, McLaren said: “It is with deep sadness that McLaren Racing announces the death of Mansour Ojjeh, shareholder of McLaren since 1984.
“Mr Ojjeh passed away peacefully this morning in Geneva, aged 68, surrounded by his family.
“All at McLaren Racing mourn his loss together with his family, to whom the team sends its most heartfelt condolences.”
The seven-time world champion took to social media after the news was announced to post a tribute.
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Hamilton wrote: “I carry a heavy heart into the race after the loss of a close friend, Mansour Ojjeh.
“He was a big brother to me. He had the biggest heart and always carried the biggest smile.
“He fought for so many years with such courage and the heart of a lion.
“I am so grateful to have known such a man. I will miss his jokes, he was the best at telling them, and his big hugs. This man loved unconditionally.
“Rest in peace brother, love you always.”
McLaren CEO Zak Brown said: “The passing of Mansour Ojjeh has devastated everyone at McLaren Racing.
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“Mansour has been etched into the heart and soul of this team for nearly 40 years and was intrinsic to its success.
“He was a true racer in every sense. Ultra-competitive, determined, passionate, and, above all, perhaps his defining characteristic: sporting. No matter the intensity of the battle, Mansour always put sport first.
“Mansour was a titan of our sport, yet modest, unassuming, and disarming to all he encountered. His easy manner, sharp wit, and warm humour touched all those who were fortunate to know him.
“His love of this team was palpable for all to see and those of us privileged to work for McLaren will remember Mansour as an impressive yet humble, human, a father-figure who showed us at the most individual, personal level how to fight adversity and be resilient.
“He will remain in death what he was in life: a constant inspiration to all of us at McLaren and beyond. Mansour’s legacy is secure.
“It is woven into this team and perpetual. We race on as he would wish, our resolve stronger than ever, with his memory and legacy forever in our hearts and minds.
“All at McLaren Racing express their deepest sympathies to his entire family.”
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