Lewis Hamilton excused from media duties after Niki Lauda passing

Lewis Hamilton was given dispensation to miss the Drivers’ Press Conference at the Monaco GP following the death of Niki Lauda, Mercedes’ chairman.

Mercedes asked the FIA for Hamilton to be withdrawn, with the world champion replaced in the five-man line-up by team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Ferrari’s drivers were similarly excused from official media duties on compassionate grounds when Sergio Marchionne, the company president, passed away last July.

  • Hamilton: Lauda my bright light
  • Lauda: The legend and the legacy
  • Sky F1’s tributes to Lauda

Hamilton posted a heartfelt message on social media on Tuesday evening paying tribute to Lauda, who acted as a close confidant to him since his arrival at Mercedes in 2013.

“My buddy, I am struggling to believe you are gone,” said Hamilton.

I’m struggling to believe you are gone. I will miss our conversations, our laughs, the big hugs after winning races together. God rest your soul. Thank you for being a bright light in my life. I’ll always be here for your family should they ever need me. Love you man pic.twitter.com/cotUpuvW2F

“I will miss our conversations, our laughs, the big hugs after winning races together. It’s truly been an honour working alongside you over these past seven years. I wouldn’t have even been in this team if it wasn’t for you. God rest your soul.

“Thank you for being a bright light in my life. I’ll always be here for your family should they ever need me. Love you man. Your friend always, Lewis.”

Lauda, a triple world champion, passed away aged 70 on Monday. F1 is set to pay tribute to the Austrian great across the Monaco GP weekend.

Mercedes have confirmed they will carry a tribute on their cars, while team members will wear black armbands from Thursday, when track action begins.

"I think Lewis takes inspiration from Niki. He'll want to win this weekend to dedicate it to him."

The #SkyF1 team look ahead to the #MonacoGP – which will hopefully be a fitting tribute to the great Niki Lauda

Full schedule: https://t.co/e3uhE0pgWq pic.twitter.com/SUNXGuZJPB

‘Lewis will draw inspiration from Lauda’
Hamilton, like Lauda, is a two-time winner of the world-famous Monaco GP, which takes place on Sunday at 2.10pm.

Sky F1’s Karun Chandhok believes Hamilton will be even more determined to win this weekend in memory of his friend and colleague.

“Lewis takes inspiration in some ways from Niki because he digs deep in difficult times and he’s able to deliver these special results,” said Chandhok.

“If you look at all the comebacks in Lauda’s career, I’m sure Lewis will draw some inspiration from that. He’ll want to win here this weekend and to dedicate it to Niki I’m sure.”

Sky F1’s Monaco GP schedule

Thursday, May 23
8.10am: F2 Practice Live! (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)
9.30am: Monaco GP Practice One build-up (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)
10am: Monaco GP Practice One Live! (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)
12.15pm: F2 Qualifying Live!
1.45pm: Monaco GP Practice Two build-up (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)
2pm: Monaco GP Practice Two Live! (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)
4pm: The Story So Far Live!

Friday, May 24
10.20am: F2 Race One Live!

Saturday, May 25
10.45am: Monaco GP Practice Three build-up
11am: Monaco GP Practice Three Live!
12.10pm: Paddock Walkabout Live!
1pm: Monaco GP Qualifying build-up
2pm: MONACO GP QUALIFYING LIVE! (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)
3.30pm: The F1 Show Live!
4pm: F2 Race Two Live!

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