Lauda and Marko defend Vettel after his crude criticism of rivals

Sebastian Vettel listens to Niki Lauda during a TV show

Sebastian Vettel listens to Niki Lauda during a TV show

Niki Lauda and Helmut Marko have come out in defence of Sebastian Vettel, after the reigning World Champion made a somewhat crass observation about his rivals.

After getting booed on the podium yet again in Singapore, the Red Bull driver surmised that the detractors are “jealous”, and implied that his rivals are not beating him because they are lazy.

“Whilst there’s a lot of people hanging their balls in the pool very early on Fridays, we’re still here working very hard and pushing very hard,” Vettel had said.

Team consultant, Marko, said that Vettel’s comment was “great and pithy, and anyway it’s true”.

“Seb wants to keep the workload just as high in the team as it has been,” said the Austrian.

But even a rival team figure has defended Vettel’s crass comment.

Sebastian Vettel with Helmut Marko and Christian Horner

Sebastian Vettel with Helmut Marko and Christian Horner

“I liked what he said,” triple World Champion and Formula 1 legend Lauda told Bild newspaper.

“Plain speaking is always good, even if I think that we work just as hard at Mercedes. But there is some truth to it; Vettel has a huge ambition and it rubs off on his team,” he added.

Lauda also weighed into the debate about Vettel’s unpopularity among the fans, recalling that he was also booed during his successful Formula 1 career.

“I was booed brutally in 1977 at Hockenheim,” he said, “because the fans saw me as the gravedigger of the Nurburgring because of my accident the year before.

“The fans were outraged even though I couldn’t do anything about [the Nurburgring’s fate],” Lauda explained. “But they whistled like crazy anyway.”

However, he said the crowd often has a very short memory.

“Then I won the race for Ferrari,” said Lauda, “and those who previously booed were cheering just as loudly.” (GMM)

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