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Lauda refuses claims Mercedes is sandbagging

  • Published on 24 Mar 2016 12:16
  • comments 5
  • By: Rob Veenstra

Niki Lauda has hit back at claims Mercedes is still sandbagging, one race into its 2016 championship campaign. It was rumoured the dominant champions of 2014 and 2015 held fire on its full performance potential over the winter, and Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko charged even after Melbourne that Mercedes could actually have "lapped the field".

The suspicion is that, amid the political goings-on, a close battle between Mercedes and Ferrari will calm suggestions the current 'power unit' era has been an abject failure. But when asked if Mercedes was really worried about being beaten by Ferrari in Australia, F1 legend and team chairman Lauda insisted: "I was very worried. We almost lost to them, did you not see it?" he is quoted by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

The reporter agreed that the gap between the two top teams in Melbourne appeared to be small. "Ferrari threatened to win the race, there is no 'but' about it," Lauda charged.

As for claims Mercedes is exaggerating the closeness of the gap for the sake of the show, he answered: "Rubbish. The truth is that there was no gap at all between the two cars. It was only the red flag that saved our life otherwise they would have won. It was the most exciting grand prix that I have seen for three years at least," declared Lauda. "I think it was the best grand prix of this era." (GMM)

Replies (5)

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  • mbmwe36

    Posts: 533

    They are sandbagging for sure. Which would explain why they have gone out of their way to praise Ferrari. Mercedes' got nothing to gain by (keep on) being utterly dominant, because that would lead to drastic rule changes in order to even things out. However, if the can continue to stay ''a hair'' in front of their rivals, well then it's just good competition, and the can't be faulted for that.

    And does anybody really think that the team who had the best understanding of the powerunit rules from the get go, doesn't know how to improve further on that, when they basically have been in a position where they could allocate all resources to that, and not miss a beat in the championship because they were already so dominant.

    • + 0
    • Mar 24 2016 - 13:46
  • Hell yeah! Merc won the GP before the Red flag, as analysed by "jaonf1". Merc is now the puppet master, and the most dominant team in F1 history ( more so than Mclaren-Honda, Ferrari)

    • + 0
    • Mar 24 2016 - 16:14
  • khasmir

    Posts: 893

    I don't know, sometimes I think Merc could finish the whole season and win both titles with 1 or 2 PU's for each driver. This race certainly didn't prove anything, yes it was exciting, before the red flag. After that Merc had enough time to figure out Ferrari was making a mistake with the tyres and they just needed to stay within a certain distance of Vettel to win the race.
    It really was a big mistake from Ferrari, they gave up track position on a track where it is not so easy to overtake. Vettel could have easily managed a set of mediums till the end of the race.

    • + 0
    • Mar 24 2016 - 19:56
  • Lauda: ""I think it was the best grand prix of this era."

    LOL what is that stuff you are smoking old man? We need people in the labs on it pronto! Ferrari has made gains but it seems only in the race trim, qualifying Merc still seems to have a large enough advantage. As long as merc's drivers remain toddlers in race start procedures the real men from other teams will continue to jump them at the starts. Ferrari must be counting in this for the next races.

    • + 0
    • Mar 25 2016 - 03:55
    • Pompey

      Posts: 84

      I agree, whatever Lauda is on must be what Mercedes put in their cars.

      • + 0
      • Mar 26 2016 - 00:42

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