Hamilton more naturally talented than Rosberg - Lauda
Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda says Lewis Hamilton is the more naturally talented driver at his team, but that tension with Nico Rosberg has now ratcheted up a level after the Monaco Grand Prix weekend.
Rosberg beat Hamilton to victory in Monaco, but only after a controversial moment in qualifying when Hamilton's final attempt at pole was ruined when he caused yellow flags by sliding down the exit road at Mirabeau. Hamilton was on a quicker lap at the time, but by securing pole position Rosberg went a long way to ensuring victory on Sunday.
Lauda thinks Hamilton is the more naturally talented of the two but that Rosberg is working in different ways to get results.
"Lewis, from my point of view, has a 0.1s or 0.2s advantage on Nico because he can get the laps in qualifying in order," Lauda said. "Nico is working hard, he's my type, with the mechanics the engineers with the tyres forwards and backwards.
"So we have one natural talent, who is very emotional, and we have another guy who is doing the same job in another way. We are in a very comfortable situation with two different drivers, but in the end they do the same result. For me it's a very good situation."
After the race Hamilton admitted that the pair did not talk on the podium and Lauda said it is down to him and the rest of the Mercedes team management to stop the rift spiralling out of control.
"The tension is speeding up, no question," he said. "We have to make sure in the team that the tension doesn't get out of hand. I know with my experience of our drivers in the past when it gets out of hand. If they don't say hello in the morning anymore to each other, then I think it's out of hand.
"What I try to do is keep it in a racer's mind, because my advantage is that they both say I speak their language. With me they speak in a different way than they do with the team. I can speak in a nice constructive way and all I can try to do is keep it at a constructive level because you can never stop it."
But Lauda said drivers have to have a ruthless edge to become champion.
"You have to be a bastard if you just want to win [races] in Formula One, no question. You cannot win by being a nice guy. Tell me one nice guy up there. Are you going to say Fernando Alonso? No, it's a breed of people who are 110% focused and use every trick to blow the other one off."