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Lauda backs Vettel to recover from 2018 loss

  • Published on 20 Dec 2018 13:14
  • comments 3
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda says that it is "absurd" to doubt Sebastian Vettel following his championship defeat in 2018. The German lost out on the title to rival Lewis Hamilton, who bagged his fifth world drivers' championship.

The two were neck and neck at throughout the first half of the year, however a series of on-track mishaps from Vettel and failed upgrades from Ferrari allowed Hamilton to extend his lead at the top and take the championship with two rounds to spare.

But Lauda thinks that Vettel will bounce back, revealing that the 31-year-old gave him a handwritten letter while he was recovering in the hospital from his recent lung transplant operation.

"The letter written by Sebastian, in his own hand, was a great pleasure for me, full of fine words and affectionate considerations," Lauda said to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I didn't expect it, usually drivers don't do these things, they just drive. But he's a good person.

"He has had moments of discouragement, we know, but it would be absurd to question him. He will recover, a champion will not forget how to drive. He'll come back strong as ever and he'll still be Hamilton's rival in 2019."

Read: The second chance: Niki Lauda - The fire that was conquered

Lauda missed out on being trackside at much of the races in the second half of the year due to his health, but says that he never skipped a Grand Prix and was able to keep up to speed with the events on the track.

"I didn't miss a single Grand Prix, even though I was in the company of so many IV [therapy utensils]," he said. "I watched all the races, called the pits on the weekends, and they always told me what was going on.

However, Lauda stated that he was "never afraid" during his procedure and recovery, as he was confident he was in safe hands: "I knew it would be hard, very hard. In such conditions I could only do one thing: fight. I did it for every moment, I'm still doing it.

"Being within my walls is something else. The air here is cleaner, the climate is not as bad as in Austria. In a month, they told me, I should be fully fit and ready to start again. I'll follow the Grand Prix as before. Why not?"

Replies (3)

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  • I do hope he will. I think Vettel is the more capable driver compared to Hammy once he get his mojo on, but he was just far too clumsy, and Ferrari and their multiple strategical errors didnt help.

    • + 0
    • Dec 20 2018 - 17:43
  • blade

    Posts: 341

    Really, not a single mistake all year from Hamilton, everyone's talking about the same....Vettel has some catching to do. He is a good guy though, he's made appearance on british TV on Tog Gear - everyone loved him. Aside Boris Becker, he could be an honorary brit !

    • + 0
    • Dec 21 2018 - 09:38
    • I mean, have you seen the raw amount of praise Hammy's gotten all around? He has gotten his share. 'sides, this is motör jurnalizm, some degree of repetition (being a lot) is bound to go around. :)

      • + 0
      • Dec 21 2018 - 17:11

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