Formula 1 pays tribute to late MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli

Italian MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli

Formula 1 drivers have paid tribute to the late MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Italian was killed in a crash last October at the Sepang track which holds this weekend's F1 race.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa visited the crash site, while Red Bull's Mark Webber spoke of his admiration for "an incredible warrior".

Alonso said: "Racing here will always be a little bit sad, knowing one of our colleagues died here."

Alonso and Massa went with several Ferrari team members to Turn 11, the corner where Simoncelli was killed when he was hit by another rider after sliding off his bike.

The Ferrari drivers held up a pit board that read 'Sic (short for Simoncelli) sempre con noi', which means 'Forever with us', and included Ferrari's Prancing Horse emblem, an Italian flag, and Simoncelli's racing number, 58.

"I think that will be the memory for him," Alonso said, "and the whole Ferrari family and the Italian people will remember him always and that's the most important thing."

The double world champion added that it would always be "difficult" to come back to Sepang following the crash.

Webber, who also visited the crash site, said: "It's still in the forefront of your mind.

"We're all together - bikes, rally, whatever... the motorsport community is extremely tight and small when we lose anyone.

"Marco was an incredible warrior, great vibe. The way that his father handled the whole thing was just absolutely so special.

"I'll be thinking about him when I drive past for the first time, and then we get back into it.

"We race as he would do, have it wide open and get on with it."

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