Valtteri Bottas replaced Lewis Hamilton for the FIA Driver Press Conference on Wednesday.
The Brit was scheduled to take part in the conference, but instead Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas took his place. The Finn said he had little information, saying that “he had a call from the [Mercedes] marketing team” to replace Hamilton.
Mercedes confirmed that the request had been made and granted for Hamilton to not take part in the press conference following the death of non-executive chairman Niki Lauda earlier this week.
The five-time World Champion paid tribute to the Austrian on Tuesday, calling him “a bright light in my life“.
“We asked for Lewis to be excused earlier today following Niki’s death,” a Mercedes spokesperson told Crash.net.
“We ask for your understanding in the circumstances that Lewis lost a very close friend in Niki fewer than two days ago.”
A similar exemption occurred last year when Ferrari’s representatives were excused from the press conferences in Hungary following the passing of CEO Sergio Marchionne.
Mercedes also confirmed that they will be running a tribute to Lauda on their cars at the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend.
“We will have a tribute on the car, still to be finalised exactly what that will be,” a spokesman said.
“Team members will wear black armbands from tomorrow.”