Lauda: Vettel 'not boring anymore'
After a comprehensive one-two in Australia sparked fears of another season dominated by Mercedes, Vettel and Ferrari ended separate victory droughts stretching back to 2013 in Sepang. For Vettel, it was his first victory since the Brazilian Grand Prix of that campaign, his ninth straight victory in a season of utter dominance as he earned his fourth world title in as many years.
Lauda, who won two of his titles with Ferrari but is now non-executive chairman for Mercedes, welcomed Malaysia's result, referring to reported quotes from Bernie Ecclestone last week suggesting Vettel was "boring".
"I went to [Ferrari boss, Maurizio] Arrivabene straight away and I congratulated him from my heart," Lauda said. "He is competition and the more competition the better, and if Ferrari wins Bernie can't complain about boring Vettel because Vettel is not boring anymore. It's very good this result for the total image of F1, because some people are always complaining."
Lauda echoed the sentiments of Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff that the result set off alarm bells for Mercedes but was happy to concede Ferrari just did a better job on the day.
"It's normal in sport when these things happen and you don't win every race that the bell rings. The bell will ring loud and we all will hear it and we will react to it, which is normal. But nevertheless we were second and third and we won the last race, so the world is not finished yet after one Vettel victory. But nevertheless they were better today.
"It's very simple, they were unbeatable today I would say. They did a perfect strategy and Vettel did an incredible job, the car performed and the tyres lasted. For us it was a three-stop strategy. Why? Because the tyres at their peak it was important for us to make three stops and for Ferrari they were less hard on tyres altogether, therefore they could do a two-stop and win the race."