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Mercedes may re-think team orders issue – Lauda

Niki Lauda has admitted Mercedes may take a different approach in future when it comes to ‘team orders’ between Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

While Sebastian Vettel is the clear de-facto ‘number 1’ at Ferrari, his main championship rival Hamilton lost points in Hungary by voluntarily giving up a place to his teammate Bottas.

Team boss Toto Wolff initially defended the team play but subsequently told La Gazzetta dello Sport that Mercedes may “have to adjust” given that Ferrari is putting all its eggs in the Vettel basket.

“Of course we are discussing how we deal with such situations in the future,” team chairman Lauda now tells Osterreich newspaper.

And not just that, in Hungary before the summer break Ferrari clearly dominated with a one-two.

Lauda says Mercedes must now hit back.

“We were not allowed to do anything for two weeks but now our engineers are in demand,” he said. “We want to catch up with Ferrari’s advantage on the slower tracks.”

But Spa-Francorchamps may not be a problem for Mercedes, whose 2017 car is always competitive on the faster circuits.

“The track will suit us better than Hungary did,” Lauda agreed.

However, the 2017 championship may in fact come down to which driver is stronger, and Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko thinks Vettel is better mentally than Hamilton.

“That’s nonsense,” Lauda insisted. “Lewis is mentally equal to Vettel, if not better. And with Bottas we clearly have the better driver combination.”

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