Hamilton still revisits texts from "great pillar" Lauda

Six-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton says he misses the support of Niki Lauda, and that he still revisits old messages between the pair.

Hamilton still revisits texts from "great pillar" Lauda

Mercedes' non-executive chairman and three-time F1 champion Lauda passed away during the week of the Monaco Grand Prix, with the team paying tribute by running a red star on the engine cover and a red halo on the W10, and Hamilton also using a special tribute crash helmet.

Hamilton has previously admitted to battling mental "demons" during the 2019 season because of the death of Lauda, and Formula 2 racer Anthoine Hubert's fatal crash during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.

Hamilton told a select group of media, including Motorsport.com, that he misses talking to Lauda.

He added: "I miss getting the texts. I miss sharing those videos, and I still have a lot of our conversations and every now and then I revisit it.

"But again, without his support, I probably wouldn’t have made the switch to come to this team. Without his support, I wouldn’t still be with this team. I don’t think this team would have had success without his support.

"Going to the board, pushing and breaking their balls. That is what he was the best at. But also being real with me. Being the bridge between… Toto [Wolff] was a racing driver and the board, who were not racing drivers, to have a real champion who understands, and empathises with how difficult it is to deliver weekend in weekend out, [and] when you make a mistake…

"That is where he has been such a great, great pillar for me. So I miss him a lot.”

Hamilton initially recalled Lauda "saying certain things about me on the TV and not really having a great opinion of me" prior to their discussions of a Mercedes move.

“All of sudden I was in this position where I’ve got to make a big decision in my life and Niki is on the phone to me," said Hamilton. "I thought: ‘Wow I am talking to a three-time world champion’, and I didn’t really know him, so I can’t say I trust this guy on the phone.

"But then I sit down with Ross [Brawn], and I sit down with Niki in a hotel room, and just the journey we went on. I would like to think that we grew to love each other as friends."

Hamilton also said he went to see Lauda "not long before he passed".

"It was really tough to see him," continued Hamilton. "We had been sending videos to each other, and I had seen him through his biggest dip and he came back and was in a wheelchair and I was really hopeful.

"And then he had another fall and started to get worse. And that is when I went to see him. And it was still a shock to see your mate in a bed, plugged in. And I’ve been there before. My auntie died of cancer so I had seen it.

"But it is always a shock. And you could see his spirit, this bright spirit of his still shining, but it was starting to dim a little, you know?

"And his fighting spirit was starting to dim, which is only natural when you are going through such a long battle. So it just hit me.”

Niki Lauda red 3-pointed star tribute on the Mercedes AMG F1 W10

Niki Lauda red 3-pointed star tribute on the Mercedes AMG F1 W10

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

shares
comments
2019 tech verdict: Red Bull becomes a disruptor with Honda

Previous article

2019 tech verdict: Red Bull becomes a disruptor with Honda

Next article

2019 tech verdict: Ferrari founders, but then finds form

2019 tech verdict: Ferrari founders, but then finds form
Load comments
How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Prime

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
The F1 figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again Prime

The F1 figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Formula 1
Jun 16, 2021
Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future Prime

Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Prime

How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbon fibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Prime

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Wind tunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as Pat Symonds explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics.

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Prime

Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. Stuart Codling weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising.

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Prime

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021