F1 broadcasting legend Martin Brundle has shared his memories of spending time with the Queen at her Sandringham Estate following the monarch’s death at the age of 96.
Brundle is from King’s Lynn, just a stone’s throw from one of the royal residences. And ahead of the practice at the Italian Grand Prix, he recalled visiting Sandringham and meeting Queen Elizabeth II on several occasions.
The former F1 driver spoke of her beauty and down-to-earth nature, telling Sky Sports viewers: “My family and I are so sad and we extend our condolences, as many people are, to the Royal Family at this really sad time.
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“Being a West Norfolk boy, I was lucky enough to meet her at Sandringham. What a magnificent, beautiful and worldly lady she was.
“One of the great takeaways I have from spending a little bit of time with her there is how down to earth she was, how normal and approachable. She was truly a lovely lady.”
Sat along him, former F1 champion Damon Hill received his OBE from the Queen and said: “Meeting the Queen is a big thing, she had this warmth and yet the dignity to go with her position as the head of state. We’re not going to know the full effects of this because she’s been there all our lives.
“She’s reigned with impeccable dignity and never put a foot wrong. It’s a very sad day.”
Before practice got underway at Monza, drivers, officials and team members came together to observe a period of silence in memory of The Queen. There will be another tribute before the race on Sunday afternoon.
Charles Leclerc topped the first practice session with Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz second. The Mercedes of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were third and fourth respectively. Hamilton will start near the back of the grid for the race after incurring an engine penalty while champion-elect Max Verstappen will drop back five places from where he qualifies after a gearbox change.
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