Daniel Ricciardo, pictured here with Mansour Ojjeh before his death.

Daniel Ricciardo has paid tribute to Mansour Ojjeh. Image: Getty/Instagram

Daniel Ricciardo has paid a touching tribute to Mansour Ojjeh after the motorsport icon died aged 68 before the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

McLaren announced over the weekend that major shareholder Ojjeh had died peacefully in Geneva, surrounded by his family.

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The Saudi billionaire bought into McLaren in 1984 and established it as one of the major forces in F1 with former partner Ron Dennis.

McLaren boss Zak Brown said the billionaire’s death “had devastated everyone”.

“Mansour has been etched into the heart and soul of this team for nearly 40 years and was intrinsic to its success,” Brown said.

“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.”

Ricciardo has since taken to Instagram to share his tribute to Ojjeh.

“We lost a great man over the weekend. Many of us knew Mansour and shared some great moments with him,” Ricciardo wrote alongside a photo with Ojjeh. 

“Honestly can’t say enough good things. Gonna miss you mate.”

Formnula One mourns death of Mansour Ojjeh

Formula One held a minute silence for Ojjeh on the grid ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which Ricciardo finished in ninth place.

“I also just want to pay tribute to Mansour and send my condolences to (wife) Kathy and his entire family,” the Aussie driver said after the race.

“He made a massive contribution to both McLaren and the entire sport, and he will be greatly missed.”

Mansour Ojjeh, pictured here with Jonathan Neale and Zak Brown at the British Grand Prix in 2018.

Mansour Ojjeh (L) with Jonathan Neale and Zak Brown at the British Grand Prix in 2018. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images)

With Mansour at the helm, McLaren won seven of their eight constructors world titles since 1984 and 10 of their 12 drivers’ crowns.

Lewis Hamilton, who won the first of his seven world titles at McLaren, also paid tribute before the start of Sunday’s race.

“I carry a heavy heart into the race after the loss of a close friend, Mansour Ojjeh,” he said.

“He had the biggest heart and always carried the biggest smile. 

“I am so grateful to have known such a man. This man loved unconditionally. 

“Rest in peace brother, love you always.”

with AFP

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