F1 plans Monaco tribute to Manchester victims

MONACO (Reuters) - Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and other drivers will race in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix with tributes to those who were killed and injured in the Manchester bomb attack.

A woman looks at flowers for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack, in central Manchester Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

The sport’s organisers are also planning a minute’s silence before the showcase race, a source told Reuters, with the 10 teams putting the #Manchester hashtag on their cars.

“We will definitely have a tribute to them on the car,” Mercedes driver Hamilton told reporters on Wednesday. “I am carrying them in my heart, as we are as a team this weekend. I’m sure everyone is.”

Monday night’s attack in the northern English city, claimed by the Islamic State militant group, killed 22 people at a concert venue packed with children, and wounded dozens more.

The Cannes Film Festival, under way just down the French Riviera coast from Monaco, held a minute’s silence on Tuesday for what organisers condemned as an “attack on culture, youth and joyfulness”.

An appearance by Hamilton to promote the Disney franchise “Cars” was also cancelled “out of respect for the casualties and all of those impacted”, according to the film’s publicist.

A deadly truck attack in the nearby Riviera city of Nice on July 14 last year killed 86 people who had gathered to watch the fireworks on Bastille Day.

Ross Brawn, Formula One’s managing director for motorsport, was born near Manchester and is a fervent supporter of the Manchester United football club.

“I can’t even fathom how the families that have lost loved ones are feeling today,” said Hamilton, a Briton and the favourite to win the race. “I have to try and drive the hardest I can this weekend and try and put positivity out there because I know there’s a lot of people that need it.”

Compatriot Jenson Button, returning for McLaren this weekend as a replacement for Spaniard Fernando Alonso, also expressed his horror. “I’m not a parent, but I know a lot of people who are and I think that’s what hits home the most, how heartless certain people can be,” he said.

“It’s also been a pretty bad week for people we know and respect in motorsport, and the cycling world, as well,” he added, referring to the deaths this week of former MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden and German triathlete Julia Viellehner.

Both died on Monday in the same hospital after being struck by vehicles while cycling in eastern Italy.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin; editing by Mark Heinrich