‘I know he was looking down’: Emotional Lewis Hamilton pays tribute to F1 legend Niki Lauda after winning the Monaco Grand Prix
- Lewis Hamilton produced a fine defensive drive to win the Monaco Grand Prix
- The Mercedes driver dedicated the victory to Formula One Niki Lauda
- The three-time world champion passed away on Monday at the age of 70
- Mercedes have celebrated his life at the Monaco Grand Prix over the weekend
An emotional Lewis Hamilton paid tribute to the late Niki Lauda after winning the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday.
Lauda, who died last Monday aged 70, was a close friend of Hamilton’s and played a big role in convincing the Brit to join Mercedes in 2013.
‘That was the hardest race I have had,’ said Hamilton. ‘I was fighting with the spirit of Niki. He has been an influential person in the team. I know he was looking down.
Lewis Hamilton celebrates his Monaco victory and dedicates his win to the late Niki Lauda
‘I wanted to stay focused and make him proud. We truly miss him.’
After crossing the line ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and team-mate Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton took off his helmet and pointed at the Austrian’s name on the back.
He had survived a late collision with Verstappen to deliver the perfect tribute to Lauda in what was an eventful Monaco Grand Prix.
Sporting a one-off red helmet in tribute to the Mercedes non-executive chairman , he tippy-toed his way to the chequered flag on shot tyres, claiming a nail-biting victory – his third on Monte Carlo’s famous streets.
Hamilton points to his Lauda cap after extending his Championship lead to 17 points
With three laps remaining, Verstappen delivered a gung-ho move for glory on the high-speed exit of the tunnel and into the chicane – Verstappen’s right-front wheel hitting Hamilton’s rear left in a flurry of sparks. But both men made it to the finish.
Hamilton spent much of the race taking aim at his Mercedes team for putting him on the less-durable medium tyres during the only round of stops.
‘I don’t know what you were thinking,’ he said to them over the radio with 20 laps remaining. ‘You need to hope for a miracle.’
Hamilton survived a late collision with Verstappen to deliver the perfect tribute
Yet, despite Red Bull’s Verstappen hustling him all the way, and then banging wheels, Hamilton somehow managed to hold on, emulating his 2008 and 2016 victories at the principality.
Verstappen was demoted to fourth after he was hit with a five-second penalty following an earlier collision in the pit lane with Valtteri Bottas.
That promoted Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to second with Bottas completing the podium places. Hamilton is now 17 points clear of Bottas in his quest for a sixth world title.