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Lauda: I'll be back... soon

NEWS STORY
24/11/2018

In a heart-warming video, three-time world champion Niki Lauda, who underwent a lung transplant in the summer, echoed countryman Arnold Schwarzenegger as he vowed to return to the F1 paddock soon.

"As you all know I had a rough time from my health point of view," he says in a brief video posted by Mercedes on social media, "and the support I got from all you people on my way was unbelievable. I was out of bed quicker because I felt to be home in a big strong family of friends.

“Therefore the achievement of this year, outstanding, five championships in a row," the Mercedes non-executive chairman continues, "Lewis again, Bottas right there, we could not have done a better job.

"And now the important message is that I will be there soon and off we go, off we go," he smiles, "the pressure comes for the sixth time.

"Thank you very much.”

It was at the beginning of August that Lauda underwent the transplant, the Austrian conspicuous by his absence at a number of previous Grands Prix.

In 1997 and again in 2005, Lauda underwent kidney transplants. The lung transplant, which was performed by Walter Klepetko, Head of the Clinical Department of Thoracic Surgery, and Konrad Hotzenecker, came after the Austrian was taken ill during a holiday in Ibiza, and is said that without the operation the F1 legend had just days to live.

The racing legend, who won two of his titles with Ferrari and a third with McLaren after coming out of retirement, almost perished at the Nurburgring in 1976 in a crash that was in many ways a turning point for the sport. So bad were his injuries that the Austrian was given the last rites, a move that enraged the driver and actually inspired him to fight back.

However, at the time of his lung transplant doctors insisted that his illness was not related to the 1976 accident.

Fantastic news ahead of the season finale.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Yas Marina, here.

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