Lauda assures Hamilton his title fight is by no means over

Niki Lauda with Lewis Hamilton

Niki Lauda with Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton is still very much in the hunt for the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship despite failing even to finish in Australia.

That is the view of Mercedes Team Chairman Niki Lauda, who revealed that he “consoled” the Melbourne pole-sitter by harking back to his own Formula 1 history.

After Hamilton retired at Albert Park only to see his German teammate Nico Rosberg go on to win, Lauda said: “I hugged him (Hamilton) and said: This was only the first race.”

“In 1984 I also failed in the first race but I was world champion in the end,” Lauda recalled telling Briton Hamilton.

Indeed, while Lauda retired in the pits at Jacarepagua in Brazil, his McLaren teammate Alain Prost won the race.

But Lauda went on to win the 1984 title by half a point.

Asked how Mercedes has managed to get off to such a strong start in 2014, Lauda told the Osterreich newspaper: “Because we have been best with the new engine regulations.

“Also last summer, when Red Bull was still focusing on the 2013 season, we were already developing our new car,” he added.

Italy’s La Repubblica declared after Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix: “The Formula 1 revolution has its leader.”

But Mercedes chief Toto Wolff expects Red Bull to catch up.

“With these new cars,” he told Kleine Zeitung newspaper, “the development curve is much steeper than usual.”

He said that the reigning world champions had already “caught up massively” between the winter season and Melbourne.

And Red Bull’s increasingly confident Helmut Marko said: “We know what is still to come in our car and the [Renault] engine.

“On the engine we are still nowhere near the maximum,” he insisted.

McLaren’s Jenson Button, however, thinks that at the moment, Formula 1 has a clear leader.

He said: “Right now we seem to be able to fight against everyone – except one.” (GMM)

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  • McLarenfan

    If the winner of the first race was the one who would win the championship Jenson would be a triple world champion Kimi would have won last year and I think Vitaly Petrov would also be a champion.

  • nakagoli

    What a rather ridiculous “story”! So Hamilton needs to be reassured after ONE race, that he is still in the title hunt? Will we now see similar reassurances given to Vettel, Kimi, Alonso etc etc. What would be the point in having a series of races, if any person who dropped out in the first race, would be out of the title hunt?

  • Tamburello1994

    Now that the season has started and there are things to actually report on I figured we wouldn’t be seeing nothingburger articles like the one above.

  • Hugo Lafreniere

    I also heard that Niki will wear a Captain Obvious suit for the next race.

  • Hugo Lafreniere

    Petrov never won a race. Stood on the podium, that’s it.

  • McLarenfan

    My mistake but it was the first race of the season correct?

  • Hugo Lafreniere

    Pretty sure that it was. He look dumbfounded to be on the podium and he pretty much said it in the post-race interview.

  • McLarenfan

    It was and he got third 27 Mar 2011 Australian Gp your right he was looking a bit out of it on the podium lol

  • Tom E Zeus

    It was hard to read such an asinine story!!! Who comes up with this and says it news worthy or maybe someone just wants to diss Hamilton…great job if that’s the game cuz he looks like a spoiled child.