Tuesday 25 June 2019

Stewart urges Hamilton to park Lauda grief and win in Monaco

Lewis Hamilton. Photo: Edgar Su/Reuters
Lewis Hamilton. Photo: Edgar Su/Reuters

Lewis Hamilton has been urged by Jackie Stewart to park his grief and win the Monaco Grand Prix as a tribute to Mercedes' non-executive chairman Niki Lauda.

Hamilton has not spoken publicly about Lauda's death after he withdrew from a press conference previewing tomorrow's event on the streets of Monte Carlo.

The world champion, 34, finished fastest in both Thursday practice sessions, with his dominant Mercedes team again appearing to hold the advantage over the rest of the field. Stewart, Britain's triple world champion, competed in arguably Formula One's deadliest era.

Jochen Rindt, the sport's only posthumous champion and a friend of the Scotsman, was killed in practice for the 1970 Italian Grand Prix. Stewart, like Hamilton this weekend, was the sport's defending champion. He qualified on pole position at Monza before crossing the line in second place.

"I will never forget that day," said Stewart, 79. "Forty-five minutes after Jochen's death I got into the car for qualifying. I was crying when I got in, and I cried when I got out.

"But I put in the fastest lap that I had ever done at Monza. People called it a death wish, but it was just about removing the bad bits because they come back when you stop the car.

"When you get in the cockpit and the lights go out you are a racing driver, driving the most sophisticated piece of engineering in the world, and you have to bring the car to the absolute limit.

"Lewis Hamilton is capable of doing that this weekend. He doesn't need to do it for Niki. He just needs to do the best he can."

Irish Independent

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