Mercedes non-executive chairman and three-time world champion Niki Lauda has questioned Sebastian Vettel’s “aggressive” strategies and heaped tribute on Lewis Hamilton for clinching a fourth World Championship title.
The Brit finished only ninth — the lowest position of his title-winning season — following a dramatic opening-lap collision with Vettel, after which Hamilton asked if his rival had crashed into him on purpose.
Both Vettel and Hamilton were sent right to the back of the field after both drivers made pit-stops to make replacements to their cars – right wing for Vettel and rear tyre for Hamilton.
Vettel swiftly made his way through the field but was unable to finish at least second to keep his title hopes alive. Vettel and Hamilton made to fourth and ninth respectively — a result which means Hamilton was crowned champion.
Following the race the Austraian questioned Vettel’s movements at the start of the race.
Mercedes non-executive chairman and three-time world champion Niki Lauda tells Ted Kravitz:
“An unusual way to be world champion but you are world champion very simple. Nobody cares how you do it.
“What I don’t understand is the aggressive manoeuvre from Vettel in the first corners. It hit Lewis hard and it was not his fault at own and his drama started.
“In the end it worked out. Fantastic, thank God,” Lauda said. “Lewis won it, he deserves it and it has been the best driving than he has ever done before.
“I’m more proud than the other three world championships we won together because this year was very competitive and today you saw the outstanding win of Max Verstappen.”
“Lewis this year was able to improve a lot. If you want to be a multiple world champion you have to get better and better and better and from last year to this year he got much better.
“An incredible step forward, a difficult car to drive and not so quick as last year but he really made it through his performance.”