F1 Assistant Editor
Niki Lauda says Lewis Hamilton lied when he said his relationship with Nico Rosberg was now “really, really good”.
Hamilton and Rosberg’s rivalry is back under the microscope after their controversial last-lap collision in Austria, which has led to Mercedes threatening team orders from Silverstone onwards. Speaking in the days leading up to that race, Hamilton had told the Daily Mail how much his relationship with Rosberg had improved from the bitter days of 2014.
Hamilton-Rosberg rivalry: A timeline
Banned engine modes, mysterious qualifying mistakes and dramatic collisions – a look at the major flashpoints between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg since 2013.
In that interview, Hamilton said the respect between the two men “is bigger than it has ever been”. However, Lauda has revealed this is not the case.
Speaking to Austrian channel Servus TV on the Friday before the Austrian Grand Prix in an interview only broadcast this week, Lauda said: “Lewis lied about this, simple as that. He just said something.
“He wanted to be the softener in order to have his peace last weekend. You can rely upon it, he is not a peace maker. The fight gets hotter the longer Nico is in front.”
Given that the Lauda interview occurred days before the pair collided in Spielberg, it raises questions about how the relationship has been affected since the events of Sunday afternoon. Both men blamed the other for the crash in Austria, though the stewards decided to penalise Rosberg.
Lauda also confirmed reports Hamilton had trashed his room after losing pole position for the Grand Prix of Europe, which had looked routine after dominating the three practice sessions. The mistake handed Rosberg the initiative, with the German driver claiming pole and then turning in a faultless lights-to-flag performance the following day while Hamilton laboured to fifth position.
“He did it because he had crashed. He’ll have to pay for that [the destroyed room]. You can count on that. He told me I couldn’t come in because he was going to destroy everything. This is how it was.”