Hamilton excused from media duties after Lauda's death

23 Mai, 2019, 01:37 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Niki Lauda in a past race

Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto says the squad is already evaluating new concepts in the wake of lessons it learned during last week's in-season Formula 1 test.

Lewis Hamilton has curtailed his pre-race activities before the Monaco Grand Prix as he comes to terms with Monday's death of his friend Niki Lauda.

A Mercedes spokesperson said: "We have asked for Lewis to be excused in the circumstances following yesterday's news".

Verstappen referred to Lauda as "a legend of the sport", while Ricciardo described his "pretty amazing" legacy.

Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Vatteri Bottas took his place in the five-man drivers' news conference after Mercedes asked the FIA for the Briton to be withdrawn. At that point, however, the team had won only one race in the three years since they returned to F1 in 2010. He meant a lot to me but also to every single team member.

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"In the end it convinced him that the challenge is what he wants to do".

Lewis Hamilton and Lauda shared a close bond for the subsequent six years, which proved to be a dominant spell for Mercedes.

He was due to attend the news briefing alongside Ferrari's Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc and Dutchman Max Verstappen of Red Bull.

But it is unlikely to affect the on-track concentration of the drivers, especially at Mercedes where his passing will be most keenly felt, as Hamilton bids to add another Monaco win to those in 2008 and 2016 -- and register a triumphant tribute to the great three-time world champion Austrian. Indeed, the German was so fond of Lauda as an F1 patriarch that when he heard a year ago of his double lung transplant operation, he sent a handwritten letter to express his wishes for a rapid recovery. Vettel explained in Monaco that he had written the letter as a mark of his respect for Lauda.

"It is a big loss for F1, for the sport. He was an icon we lost, and will be impossible to replace", Vettel said. "He is leaving a big gap that we won't be able to fill". More tributes will be added to the Mercedes' vehicle as the weekend unfolds.

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