Lewis Hamilton has paid tribute to the late, great Niki Lauda on the one-year anniversary of his sad passing.
Hamilton and Lauda forged a great relationship over the years and Lauda played a huge part in bringing the now six-time World Champion to Mercedes in the first place.
Lauda was a colossus figure in Formula 1 and is dearly missed by everyone, and Hamilton only has the greatest memories of one of sport’s biggest icons.
“Niki is someone who I miss and who I think we all miss dearly,”Hamilton said in a video tribute released by Mercedes.
“It is a difficult subject to talk about; someone you are so fond of and someone that ultimately the world has lost but I have only the greatest memories with Niki.
“Probably the most fond memories I have are from my first conversations. 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.
“Definitely to have the support of someone like Niki demands a huge amount of respect and shows that there is a mutual respect there because obviously 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 and 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’. From then on, we had a really great relationship.
“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.”
Hamilton added: “I got to see him in Switzerland not too long before he passed and he was still thinking about racing. All he could think about was ‘How do I get back to racing?’
“I think it gets a hold of you, racing, it is something that never leaves you, even if you do stop driving at some stage.”