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Friday / February 21.
HomeSportsNiki Lauda was ‘racing with me’ during Monaco win, says Lewis Hamilton

Niki Lauda was ‘racing with me’ during Monaco win, says Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton said he believed he felt Niki Lauda was with him as he drove to a hard-fought victory in the Monaco Grand Prix. The British driver added that he wanted to go on to emulate the three-times world champion in earning the respect and admiration with which he was held across the world.

After he clung on to take victory in Monte Carlo with his tyres giving up and Max Verstappen hounding him to the last, Hamilton immediately paid tribute to Lauda. The Austrian had played a key role in bringing Hamilton to Mercedes in 2013 and the two had become close friends. Hamilton and his team endured an emotional week after Lauda’s death on Monday.

“When I was driving I thought: ‘What would Niki do?’ So I just kept going,” he said. “I definitely felt like he was with me racing today. It was just incredible to see how much support there has been for Niki from across the world, how much respect and appreciation there is for him. As a driver my goal is to be one day as respected as he was. He left a great example and was a real hero to so many.”

Formula One and the drivers all paid tribute to Lauda at the race and Hamilton confirmed he will attend Lauda’s funeral in Vienna on Wednesday. He was pleased at what he considered was his toughest victory and said he intended to speak to both his parents and Lauda’s wife, Birgit, after the race.

“I think it is the hardest race I have ever had; it is in the top five,” Hamilton said. “I appreciate a tough race. As an athlete you always want the toughest battles. I am going to enjoy my evening tonight. I can’t wait to call my dad and mum see what they thought of it. I will get a chance tonight to talk to Birgit to let her know how much I appreciate her and her support with Niki over these years.”

Hamilton had struggled with his grip from the early stages of the race and was vocal in his concern over the radio with his team. He revealed he had been venting his frustration at a safety valve in the car while he concentrated on holding his line in front of Verstappen.

“Winning the Monaco GP is an incredible accomplishment,” he said. “If anyone can relate to how the pressure builds up at work and you want to slap the keyboard, it was one of those heated days today. It was so easy to burst out and I am sure I did at some stages but ultimately I was able to release and continue to take it out on the tyres and the car.”












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