Mercedes team boss Niki Lauda is preparing for tough times ahead as he seeks to ensure fair play and good behaviour from Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in their world title scrap, starting with this weekend’s German Grand Prix.
Three times world champion Lauda, who is non-executive chairman of the Mercedes outfit, expects the competition between championship leader Rosberg and Hamilton to intensify.
The pair are separated by only four points following Hamilton’s win at his home British Grand Prix on July 5 when Rosberg suffered his first retirement of the season with mechanical problems.
Looking ahead at what is effectively the team’s home race, Lauda said:
“Everything is reset like before Lewis had his second retirement (in Canada) and, now, they will fight to the end – like you would not believe – to be world champion. And, I will have a hard time.
“We will not interfere. This is very important. We didn’t interfere from the beginning, so why should we now? So it will be interesting to watch now, because they are exactly at the same level.”
The German contest marks the halfway mark to the season, the 10th race out of 19, and it will be fascinating to see how the pair react to the pressure of the title race as the final races unfold.
In the opening nine races, Hamilton had five wins and two retirements while Rosberg has had three wins and just one retirement, but proved himself to the more consistent race-finisher overall.
Lauda added that he does not fear for Hamilton’s consistency in any way.
“Everybody has highs and lows. Look at (Sebastian) Vettel. Vettel is a four-time world champion and he moaned and bitched over the last eight races, so if there is one guy with more lows, then it is Vettel.
“These things happen, and I think too much is put in to this. Lewis was, from the beginning of the season on a good level, a stable level, and Nico I have to say has improved.