Lauda: Hamilton-Rosberg a better line-up than Alonso-Raikkonen

4 October, 2013

Helmets of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in the Merdcedes pit garage

Helmets of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in the Merdcedes pit garage

Replacing Michael Schumacher with Lewis Hamilton was the right thing for Mercedes. That is the claim not only of Formula 1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, but also the German team’s own Niki Lauda who is adamant that his team’s current driver line up will be better than the combination of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari next year…

A year ago, Lauda was instrumental in convincing Lewis Hamilton to leave McLaren and replace seven time World Champion Schumacher.

“It was the right decision to sign Lewis,” Ecclestone told Auto Bild. “He woke the team up. And he can push the other driver [Nico Rosberg] in a way Michael couldn’t anymore.”

Lauda, meanwhile, revealed on Friday to Die Welt newspaper that, just before the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix, he was invited to a Mercedes board meeting as a guest.

Nico Rosberg celebrates his victory at the Monaco GP with Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes team

Nico Rosberg celebrates his victory at the Monaco GP with Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes team

There, Austria’s triple World Champion said he asked to take on the matter of Mercedes’ 2014 driver lineup.

A few days later, he was in a Singapore hotel room at 2am, trying to convince Briton Hamilton to leave McLaren. He eventually succeeded.

“Hamilton with Rosberg was the most important part of turning Mercedes around,” the F1 legend said.

“Lewis is such a natural talent and he complements Nico so well with [Rosberg's] attention to every technical detail. It is the best driver lineup there is – not even Alonso and Raikkonen will be as good,” added Lauda.

Niki Lauda with Lewis Hamilton

Niki Lauda with Lewis Hamilton

Lauda said he that doesn’t blame Schumacher for Mercedes’ struggles between 2010 and 2012.

But when asked what would have happened if the great German stayed in 2013, Lauda admitted: “Not much. After a certain time you need a whole new motivation for a team, and a new top driver can do that.”

Lauda said Mercedes also recognised that it needed to spend more money on its Formula 1 programme to compete with the top teams.

“We adopted this RRA-system,” said Lauda, referring to the resource restriction agreement, a pact between the teams to limit costs. “But it was not respected by McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari for various reasons,” he said.

Niki Lauda with Nico Rosberg

Niki Lauda with Nico Rosberg

“I said from the beginning, ‘Forget this RRA-system – we need new and better people if we want to beat Red Bull’,” admitted Lauda.

One of those ‘better people’ was Paddy Lowe, who like Hamilton arrived from McLaren.

But Lauda admits there was some tension for a time between Lowe and team boss Ross Brawn.

“We have clarified it,” he said. “Paddy came to us earlier than we expected, but he is now responsible for the technical side. The collaboration between him and Ross works.

“Ross is the team boss, Paddy [is in charge of] the technical side. Our results this year have shown [that] we made the right decisions.” (GMM.)

Subbed by AJN.


  • Binoy

    lauda,i have respect for you but dont talk like an idiot!!

  • Rams

    Loud mouth Lauda, Michael did not want to drive
    for a team led by a retarded joker like you. How about
    this Lauda? Your stupid car and team was not worthy of
    a legend like Michael. Therefore, both of you seniles,
    do what is good for you at this age, which is giving
    your brain a rest.

  • KC

    Of course he’s going to praise his own drivers, no need to yell at him about that.

  • alonso_is_slow

    This is natural as Mercedes nr 2 driver is way better than Ferrari’s Nr 1.

  • Snowman

    @KC

    You’ll notice that only schumi fans will do so

  • McLarenfan

    Niki Lauda managed to take Lewis he replaces Michael and that is a crime I don’t think so. Michael hated the situation with the tyres and he was vocal in saying that these tyres were not letting him extract the maximum from the car it was against all he had ever known in an F1 car to him it wasn’t real F1,But I will say he was more relaxed second time round.

  • gilgen

    Rams. what a disgusting post! Niki is a thousand times the person that you are. Of course he will talk up his drivers, that is his job.
    I wont make a comment about your own mentality, although it does really deserve one.

  • just saying

    how can Hamilton / Rosberg a better line-up than Alonso / Raikkonen ?

    Clearly ferrari is still ahead in points than Mercedes in Alonso / Massa. and we knew how massa help alonso in constructor standing points

    how much more if Raikkonen is in the picture…

  • Michael Schumacher

    What? Like Lauda, Wolff and Hamilton are the reason why the car is better this season than the past 3 years? Pathetic! It was the hard work of Haug and the rest of the guys that made this car a winner!

  • Tinto

    When Lauda talks we should listen respectfully, common sense.

    I dare to say he may miss it this time… Alonso is damn consistent, he is second by the way in a slower car, Kimi is gonna bring consistency too. My bet is on Ferrari not Mercedes. Both teams behind the Bulls.

  • Empee

    “Alonso is damn consistent, he is second by the way in a slower car, Kimi is gonna bring consistency too.”

    The Constructor’s Championship is where I think Ferrari is absolutely poised to wreak havoc for everyone else. Behind Vettel, Alonso and Raikkonen have consistently been the most dangerous men on race day irrespective of where they start. The only threat to their points haul potential is Red Bull, and a key element to that, Webber, is moving on next year. Assuming the RB10 is also a competitor, it really puts the pressure on Ricciardo among others to perform.

  • Tinto

    @Empee: Ricciardo is gonna do fine, he may even challenge Vettel. What I like at Ricciardo is his character, he is a good lad, completely opposite to Webber.

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