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Lauda slams talk of sabotage

NEWS STORY
02/10/2016

Mercedes' non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has hit out at claims the team is sabotaging Lewis Hamilton's title hopes.

As expected, despite the ongoing excitement on-track, it was Lewis Hamilton's comments to the media following his shock retirement that were creating the real buzz in Sepang.

Having suffered an engine failure, the Briton questioned why the failures only ever appear to happen to him.

"There are eight Mercedes (engines) on the grid, I just can't believe that only my engines have been going this year," he told reporters.

"Something just doesn't feel right," he continued, "but there's nothing I can do about it. It's a brand new engine out of the three that I had. There's been forty-there engines and only mine have blown. Something or someone doesn't want me to win this year."

Having already had to write an open letter to fans earlier this year when the Briton suffered a string of failures, today's comments come at a time the team should be celebrating as it closes on a third successive constructors' title. Instead, the German manufacturer found itself under attack from the media and fans, who almost want to believe that there is foul play at work.

Lauda was having none of it.

"I know Lewis very well and he would not accuse the team," said the Austrian. "This interpretation, I cannot accept it. Lewis knows we do everything possible to give him the best car and the best engine.

"I really feel sorry for him," he continued, "I apologised to him that the engine failed. This was a young engine, not an old one, so we do not know the cause. So if we do not know the cause, nobody can say we sabotaged it. It's ridiculous, and if you speak to Lewis directly, I guess he will not say this.

"We work for him and for Nico in a perfect way," he added. "He's won two championships so far with us, we've finished the most races ever. What do you guys think, we suddenly start to sabotage? Why? It's completely ridiculous and stupid."

Referring to Hamilton's suggestion that "Something or someone" doesn't want him to win this year, Lauda thought this might have a spiritual intonation.

"He can mean anybody," he said. "This is a wide interpretation. If I am unlucky and I can't find an explanation I say if there is a God then I have done something wrong or he doesn't like me.

"If a driver is upset, and I have been upset a couple of times in my racing career and said some rubbish. I don't want to say Lewis said rubbish, but these things can happen. It's emotion, which is fully acceptable and there is nothing wrong."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Sepang, here.

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1. Posted by Pavlo, 03/10/2016 10:11

"Firstly, I 100% agree with Niki - when you work hard all the weekend, drive fast and going to win the race, and then your car suddenly fails and you still have adrenaline in your blood, you will say stupid things. That's normal.
Secondly, please look in the history for Rosberg: Singapore 2014 (electronics failure, retirement), Bahrain 2015 (brakes, lost position), Monza 2015 (engine (!), retirement), Russia 2015 (clutch). So Rosberg had his share of problems, including engine. And Mercedes is extremely reliable this year - of course, if the car breaks every race you statistically expect it to be shared between 2 cars, but if you have 2 engine failures a yer, they can accidentally happen on one car without any sabotage.
And to be fair again, I remember Rosberg complaining last year."

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2. Posted by Spindoctor, 03/10/2016 8:10

"@karel Sorry, but I don't recall all those "failures". How many DNFs has Nico had as a result of technical failure?
I'm sure you remember it was Lewis, not Nico who needed to have new engines (incurring penalties) after a series of failures....

You may consider it "childish" to be upset after losing an almost certain victory, but I don't"

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3. Posted by karel, 03/10/2016 6:24

"Hamilton is an immature element in F1. Rosberg also had his part of mechanical failure this year, you don't see him crying are making ridiculous remarks. Actually it's not the first time his behaviour is like a 7 year old kid. When he would be driving at Ferrari this would be his last race."

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