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FIA retire number 17 in honour of Bianchi

Number 17 will be absent from the grand prix grid in future in honour of Bianchi. Credit: PA

Jules Bianchi's number 17 will be retired from the Formula One World Championship in his honour.

The 25-year-old died last Friday following the devastating brain injuries he sustained in a crash at the Japanese Grand Prix on October 5.

And now world governing body the FIA have confirmed that his number 17 will be absent from the grand prix grid in future.

"As F1 car numbers are now personally chosen by each driver, the FIA believes it to be an appropriate gesture to retire Jules Bianchi's number 17," president Jean Todt announced on the official FIA website.

"As a result, this number can no longer be used for a car competing in the FIA Formula One World Championship."

French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi dies aged 25

French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi has died, nine months after sustaining severe head injuries at the Japanese Grand Prix.

French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi dies aged 25. Credit: PA

Bianchi, who was 25, had been in a coma since the October 5 accident, in which he collided at high speed with a mobile crane which was being used to pick up another crashed car.

He died at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in his home town of Nice.

His family said: ''Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end. The pain we feel is immense and indescribable.''

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Horner rubbishes Red Bull sack rumours

Horner with his wife, former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell. Credit: PA

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has described reports that he could be sacked as "total rubbish".

It was suggested at the Austrian Grand Prix that Horner, who led Red Bull to four consecutive drivers' and constructors' championships between 2010-2013, could be shown the exit door following the team's troubled start to the season.

"Unfortunately in Formula One there are always rumours, and this is total rubbish," Horner said on reports he is set to leave the team.

"I'm fully committed to Red Bull and I love what I do. We're working hard and my focus is trying to get the team back to where we were 18 months ago."

Hamilton rues poor start in Austria

Rosberg celebrates his win. Credit: PA

Lewis Hamilton blamed a poor start to the Austrian Grand Prix for costing him a shot at victory.

The Mercedes man had qualified on pole for the seventh time in eight races but was beaten off the line by team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg - who then took the chequered flag to close the gap in the championship.

"I had a problem with the revs," said Hamilton.

"I took my foot off the gas and the throttle was still on. It was not the best way to start the race but it is something we will work on to improve on my side of the garage."

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Hamilton takes pole at Austrian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton turned it on at the right time to qualify on pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix.

The reigning champion had not topped a session all weekend at the Red Bull Ring but tuned in perfectly to beat Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg into second place - with both drivers spinning on their final attempts.

Hamilton, taking his seventh pole position in eight races this season, set a best time of one minute 08.455 seconds and was two tenths of a second clear of Rosberg - with the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel third.

Vettel fastest in final practice in Austria

Vettel was fastest in final practice in Austria. Credit: PA

Sebastian Vettel again came home faster than the Mercedes in a rain-affected final practice ahead of qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix.

The four-time world champion put his Ferrari at the top of the timesheet on Friday afternoon and repeated the feat on Saturday morning, with a downpour over the Red Bull Ring effectively cutting the hour-long session in half.

The session had been red-flagged as Fernando Alonso's stricken McLaren was cleared from the pit straight and by the time it was returned to the garage the rain put pay to any further dry runs.

Lewis Hamilton got to within 0.017 seconds of Vettel's best effort, with the German the only driver to dip below the 70-second mark as he recorded a lap of one minute 09.994 seconds.

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