Method One world champion Lewis Hamilton was exempted from media duties on the Monaco Grand Prix on Wednesday as groups and drivers got here to phrases with the loss of life of triple world champion Niki Lauda.
A workforce spokesman stated they’d requested for Hamilton to be excused because he had “misplaced a shut pal in Niki.”
Lauda, who died on Monday aged 70, gained in Monaco with Ferrari in 1975 and 1976, however, was latterly the Mercedes workforce’s non-govt chairman and shareholder with principal Toto Wolff.
Formulation One mentioned a tribute was within the works, with particulars to be confirmed. A minute’s silence is probably going earlier than the race.
Hamilton, a five-instances world champion, had paid an emotional tribute to the Austrian on Instagram on Tuesday night time.
“My buddy, I’m struggling to consider you might be gone,” he stated.
Whereas he made a look within the harbourside paddock, arriving on a motorbike and waving to followers, the Briton now has no official media commitments till after Saturday’s qualifying.
Finnish group mate Valtteri Bottas spoke to reporters as an alternative.
“Lauda was a crucial member of ours within the race workforce and manufacturing facility, a giant a part of the Mercedes household and was an enormous motivation for everybody and myself as nicely,” Bottas stated.
Mercedes stated workforce members would put on black armbands from Thursday and the automobiles would have “Danke Niki (Thanks Niki)’” and the Austrian’s signature on the nostril of the motors. One of many stars on the engine cowl will probably be painted crimson.
Lauda wore a trademark pink cap to cowl the burns he suffered in a fiery close to-deadly crash on the Nurburgring in 1976, the 12 months of his title duel with McLaren’s James Hunt.