Lewis Hamilton has dedicated his Monaco Grand Prix pole position to former Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda.

Three-time Formula 1 world champion Lauda, who was a close friend and mentor to Hamilton in his role at Mercedes, died last week at the age of 70.

Hamilton claimed his second-ever pole at Monaco with a last-gasp effort to pip Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and dedicated the result to the late Austrian.

“This is definitely one of the best poles that I can remember,” Hamilton said.

“Obviously I’ve had a lot of success over the years but I can’t really remember one that means as much as this one.

“It’s been such a difficult week for the whole team and personally, so at such a difficult circuit, it’s amazing how we’ve turned up as a team and continuing to take strides forward to develop collectively and get stronger and improve on our performance weekend in, weekend out.

“I’m so, so proud of everyone but to have a little bit of a cloud over us this weekend we’ve really tried to lift each other up for Niki.

“Valtteri did a sensational job,” he added. “Practice one and two were good for me and then today the car didn’t feel anywhere near as good as it did on Thursday, so digging deep to turn the car around.

“Valtteri did a great lap first lap, I was struggling to get it out of the tyres so I did a prep lap for the first lap and the second one was not very good. I pushed for that first lap at the end and naturally I had to gain two tenths as Valtteri was ahead and I thought Valtteri would be up.

“I was just throwing the car around, I’m pretty sure I touched a few barriers on the way around but there’s no better way of doing it away around Monaco.

“I’ve not had a huge amount of success around here in the past, it’s been a track where I’ve been quick but never quite got that perfect lap and I think today was the closest I’ve got to it. So this one’s for Niki.”

Asked how difficult he found it to put his feelings to one side and focus on the job at hand, Hamilton replied: “Well ultimately we are professionals.

“Niki would just have wanted us to get in [the car] and he would always say ‘just give it arseholes’ and that’s why I tried to do every time I got in the car.

“That’s what he would always say. You just try to walk around with a smile and really try to lift each other up and do him proud. I think hopefully we are and we will have to try and do the same to pull out something special tomorrow.”

Hamilton said his outburst of celebration was down to a combination of relief from sealing pole after being on the “ragged edge” during his final lap.

“I was just so super hyped,” he explained. “I just tried to hold it in but there’s a lot of Brits and a lot of British flags, and I don’t know, it was just a spur of the moment thing. I felt the fence was going to come over actually! Luckily it didn’t.

“I’ve won races and you go straight into a meeting and you go home and sit and watch TV and do normal stuff and don’t actually capture the moment.

“So I think it was just important for me to enjoy the moment because you never know when you will have that moment again. I’m grateful for it.”

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