F1 News: Hamilton recalls first meetings with late Lauda ahead of Mercedes move

Lewis Hamilton has recalled his first meetings with Niki Lauda that led to his move to Mercedes' Formula 1 team, calling them his fondest memories of the late Austrian

F1 News: Hamilton recalls first meetings with late Lauda ahead of Mercedes move

Three-time F1 world champion Lauda played an instrumental role as Mercedes' F1 chairman to sign Hamilton from McLaren, holding regular talks with the British driver through 2012.

Hamilton has since won five F1 titles for Mercedes, as well as helping the team's charge to six consecutive constructors' championships and a number of unprecedented F1 feats.

Marking the first anniversary of his death at the age of 70, Mercedes has released a video featuring many of its team members sharing their fondest memories of Lauda.

Hamilton said it was a "difficult subject to talk about" and that the whole team missed Lauda "dearly" before recalling his initial meetings back in 2012.

"Probably the most fond memories I have are from my first conversations," Hamilton said.

"We started talking some time in 2012 and I just remember being home during the day, having a call from Niki and he is trying to convince me to come to the team.

"It was very cool to have a call from a world champion and an icon like Niki.

"We had relatively decent conversations but obviously it was in the early phases.

"Definitely to have the support of someone like Niki demands a huge amount of respect and shows that there is a mutual respect there.

"I thought perhaps he didn't necessarily value me as a driver but he did. Then we sat together in Singapore, he came to my room and we had a good conversation.

"I think that was the time when Niki was like: 'Oh my god, you are just like me in so many ways. We have actually a lot more in common than I anticipated and assumed.

"Probably he would have thought to himself: 'Actually I shouldn't jump to conclusion about people necessarily'."

One week after the race in Singapore, Hamilton was confirmed as a Mercedes F1 driver from 2013, paving the way for him to establish himself as one of F1's all-time greats.

Hamilton spoke about the influence Lauda had in helping him improve as a driver, leaving no stone unturned in his pursuit of improvement.

"He was always thinking about how we can improve. The greatest sign from Niki was if you did the job, he would take off his hat - that was for him saying: 'Well done!'" Hamilton said.

"We would talk often after the races and he would be asking things like: 'Hey, Lewis, what do you need to be better? What do you need?' He was always chasing.

"If I was to learn anything from him it would be that.

"As a driver and within a team you naturally have to work together but you have to lead it.

"You have to lead the team, you have to ask the questions, you have to really dig deep and push everybody.

"Niki kind of taught me how to approach that in a working environment and I like to think that I am able to apply that to every day, my everyday racing life.

"I am grateful for the opportunity, and forever [will] love Niki. I know he is with us every race in spirit."

shares
comments
The Autosport Podcast: The Greatest F1 Team – Chief Designer
Previous article

The Autosport Podcast: The Greatest F1 Team – Chief Designer

Next article

Niki Lauda's greatest Formula 1 races

Niki Lauda's greatest Formula 1 races
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Plus

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

STUART CODLING charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Plus

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded MAURICE HAMILTON of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022
Audi’s innovative first assault on grand prix racing Plus

Audi’s innovative first assault on grand prix racing

It has been a long time coming but Audi’s arrival in Formula 1 is finally on the horizon for 2026. But it won’t be its first foray into grand prix racing, as the German manufacturer giant has a history both long and enthralling

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022
The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination Plus

The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination

After a tooth and nail and, at times, toxic Formula 1 world championship scrap last year, Max Verstappen's march to a second consecutive title has been the exact opposite. But has he really changed in 2022? Here's a dive into what factors have played a crucial role, both inside the Verstappen camp and elsewhere, in the Dutch driver's domination

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022
Why Hamilton is still the man to keep driving Mercedes forward Plus

Why Hamilton is still the man to keep driving Mercedes forward

Lewis Hamilton’s words in a recent Vanity Fair interview define both his world-view and his approach to this season: one of perpetual struggle against adversity. As GP RACING explains, that’s what Lewis feeds off – and why, far from being down and nearly out, he’s using his unique skillset to spearhead Mercedes’ revival…

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2022
The time lag of ideas that offers intrigue over F1's future fight Plus

The time lag of ideas that offers intrigue over F1's future fight

The pecking order in 2022's Formula 1 season may look pretty static as the season draws to a close, but the unique nature of the cost cap means that preparation for next season takes precedence. New developments are being pushed back to 2023 - which could mask the technical development war ongoing...

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2022
How one retro event could prove an alluring prospect for Formula 1 stars Plus

How one retro event could prove an alluring prospect for Formula 1 stars

While Formula 1 drivers taking part in retro events can prove costly, as Charles Leclerc discovered at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix, the Goodwood Revival could prove an interesting experiment for today's stars. As the event's own Tourist Trophy race proves it means serious business, a race for current F1 drivers feels as though it’s in line with where the event is currently at

Goodwood Revival
Sep 21, 2022
The surprise biggest indicator of Ferrari's 2022 F1 points downfall Plus

The surprise biggest indicator of Ferrari's 2022 F1 points downfall

Looking back to the early races of 2022 and Ferrari’s challenge to Red Bull and Max Verstappen was going better than many expected. But it has lost so much ground a surprise rival can even pip Charles Leclerc to runner-up in the standings if given the chance

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2022