Lewis Hamilton takes time out after death of ‘close friend’ Niki Lauda

• Hamilton excused from F1 media duties before Monaco GP
• Pair grew close after Lauda persuaded Briton to join Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton has curtailed his pre-race activities before the Monaco Grand Prix as he comes to terms with the death of his friend Niki Lauda on Tuesday. Lauda was the non-executive chairman at Hamilton’s Mercedes team and had been instrumental in persuading the British driver to join them. Hamilton was withdrawn from the FIA press conference in Monte Carlo before it took place on Wednesday and did not speak to any media.

On Tuesday Hamilton issued a heartfelt tribute on Instagram to the three-time world champion, who died aged 70, and although scheduled to speak to the press on Wednesday his Mercedes team requested he was allowed to miss the conference.

Related: My friend Niki Lauda was a street-fighter and a shining talent in F1 | John Watson

Related: More than a machine: Niki Lauda was an F1 rebel in his own way

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Source: Formula 1

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