Bottas & Mercedes look to 'respect' Lauda with strong Monaco result

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Valtteri Bottas says he and Mercedes will look to "respect" Niki Lauda's memory with a strong weekend in Monaco.

The Austrian Formula 1 legend had been with the team since 2012 in the role of non-executive chairman but sadly passed away on Tuesday following a battle with illness.

After the news of his loss, Lewis Hamilton was given an exemption from media duties on Wednesday, but Bottas did pay tribute to Lauda.

“It was pretty shocking news to start the week with, as Niki meant a lot to me but also to every single member of our team as well,” he said.

“Both for our race team and for our factory team, he was a big part of the Mercedes family, a massive motivator for everyone and for myself as well.

“For sure as a driver for everything he achieved, with the difficult career he had, with all the comebacks he had, but also as a person, he has been great. I’ll never forget many, many good moments we had together.

“It’s not nice, in terms of mindset, for the weekend, but I’m sure that, as a team, we can turn things our way and respect Niki with going flat out on track and bringing a good result.”

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After five consecutive 1-2 finishes to start 2019, Mercedes certainly would appear to be well-placed to do just that in Monte Carlo.

But Bottas is well aware of the potential banana skin that awaits.

“I haven’t had great races here but I’m surely targeting to change that,” he said.

“The beginning of the year has been very promising for us, as a team, but we also have to acknowledge Monaco is a unique circuit and you need different things from your car to be quick.

“In the past two years we’ve been struggling a little bit, we weren’t happy with our car here as we couldn’t go quickly as we did in other tracks.

“With that in mind, we are a little bit cautious but also very motivated to change that and to be performing here, as well. It’s really unique and it will be an amazing Grand Prix to do well in.”

Bottas starts the weekend seven points behind teammate Hamilton in the drivers' standings.