Lauda: "Alarm bells are ringing at Mercedes"

Published on 20 Apr 2017 12:20

Ferrari has set off "alarm bells" at triple back-to-back world champions Mercedes. That is the admission of Niki Lauda, the F1 legend and Mercedes team chairman and co-owner. Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton traded victories in Melbourne and China, but it was Vettel's win last weekend in Bahrain that has Mercedes worried, Lauda admits.

"The alarm bells are ringing with us," he told Osterreich newspaper. "Those who win in Bahrain have a certain buffer for the next three races," Lauda added.

Indeed, both Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas admitted in Bahrain that the main problem with the 2017 car is the new Pirelli tyres, particularly in hotter weather. But others think Ferrari has simply given quadruple world champion Vettel a tantalising sniff at a fifth title. "The Vettel factor can decide the world championship this year," Vettel's first F1 boss Gerhard Berger told Sport Bild.

The former F1 driver admitted he is surprised with Ferrari's pace so far in 2017. "I would have lost every bet before the season," Berger smiled, "because I doubted that Ferrari would really beat Mercedes."

Another of Vettel's former chiefs, Dr Helmut Marko, agrees: "Sebastian is at one with his car. He is constantly on the limit, not making the smallest mistake and always knowing what to do. This is pure driving pleasure for him. Like this, Vettel is very hard to beat -- especially when Mercedes is making mistakes," the Red Bull official added.

Finally, an unnamed current F1 driver also tipped Vettel to emerge with spoils at the end of a long head-to-head with Mercedes' Hamilton in 2017. "Hamilton lacks the bite," he said. "You can only rely on talent alone when you have a car that is a second faster. Three tenths per lap is not enough to beat a Vettel." (GMM)

Replies (10)
DE Wolfgang 20 Apr 2017 13:19+2
Posts: 313
Wondering who this current f1 driver is?! :-) Must be someone who´s not very good with Hamilton.. So i guess Massa? Would be a perfect fit to his last statements concerning Button, Verstappen, etc..

all in all i hope very much Vettel is kicking Mercs and especially Hamiltons ass.. :-) Bottas winning would be ok also, seems like a nice and a good guy..
SE calle.itw 20 Apr 2017 16:000
Posts: 4186
I think the Mercedes is still better than the Ferrari, if however very slightly, but I think the biggest difference is that Vettel is in the car.
Posts: 313
But Hamilton isn´t that bad either. I think both are pretty equal except one thing:

I think vettel is the one that´s better in dealing with pressure. The last quotes from lewis are in my point of view an indication that he feels the pressure and has a lot of respect for Seb. The incident with Ricciardo at the pit entry in Bahrain shows that pretty good i think.

Lewis (or his confidence) maybe hasn´t forgotten that he´s been beaten by Nico in the same car last year... :-)
SE calle.itw 20 Apr 2017 21:300
Posts: 4186
Yes, Hamilton is good, but in my opinion Vettel is simply better. Not only is Vettel better at coping with pressure, he is also generally more consistent, and tend to be better at tyre management.
NL mclarenfan1968 22 Apr 2017 13:330
Posts: 1014
Nope Hamilton is junk as shown already this year even with the fastest car he cant make a damn difference, people should quit living in fear of saying the right things against this low grade driver just because he is black. The BLM propaganda has gotten into people heads real good it seems.
Posts: 24
WOLFGANG......Lewis isn't dwelling on his loss to Nico of the 2016 WDC, because as Toto Wolff said, " This year, clearly, Malaysia cost Lewis the championship. It's clear." Hamilton is well aware of that fact, and he knows the lost of the championship, wasn't due to being out performed by Nico.

Vettel good at dealing with pressure, surely you jest. Sebastian went off the charts several times last season, based on various circumstances that had arisen. Exploding into expletives, and loud ranting on the radio. Sebastian's outbursts on the radio doesn't mean that I don't like him, and don't consider him to be on the top shelf of current F1 drivers. I really do like Vettel, and still am a HUGE fan of Hamilton.
DE Wolfgang 21 Apr 2017 11:11+2
Posts: 313
This is complete rubbish. I´m aware of the fact Toto said the engine failure blabla, but he surely said that in order to build lewis up again. Niki and Toto spoke completely different directly after abu dhabi. This sentence mentioned was said from toto long time after Abu Dhabi..

Lewis lost the 2016 season because of the bad starts AND because of his own mistakes.
Plus Lewis could consider him as very lucky after Nico giving him his place at Monaco and Red Bull fucking up their strategy. Take also Canada 16, which lewis only won because Ferrari made strategy mistakes..

So all in all it´s just rubbish to state that Malaysia costed him the championship, because on top of that it was always Lewis on "hammertime" and pressing every horse out of his engines, because of his bad starts for example, or because of his error in qualifying in Baku.. This is why he suffered such bad reliability in comparism to Nico. Nico had good starts and cruised away while nursing the engines, whereas Lewis was on his "hammertime".

And on top of that: Lewis is to blame for Austria AND for Spain. I´m well aware Nico was penalised in Austria but this is complete nonsense to do so, i´m pretty sure there had been some british stewards... :-) Every racer knows Lewis chipped of Nicos front wing on purpose at that situation. Lewis knew he was just that tiny bit in front in order to do so... Saying later Nico was in his blind spot is completely ridiculous. A 3 time WDC says he couldn´t see Nico after passing him during braking because he was in his blind spot? Just a big Haha in that context. Spain was also totally Lewis´fault no matter in which engine mode Nico was stuck. Lewis crashed into Nico and end of story. Remember Spa in 2014 where Nico chipped Lewis left rear tyre.. In that case it was only Nicos fault.. :-)

And several other aspects: Take Nicos penalty in Hockenheim for example whereas other drivers do exactly the same in different races and getting never penalised for that.. (Verstappen in Hungary/Mexico, Hamilton in Canada with Rosberg etc pp)

So all in all Lewis was 2016 outperformed by Nico and this is why he became WDC.
No one said after abu dhabi 2014 Nico didn´t became champion because of his reliability issues in Silverstone, Singapore and Abu Dhabi.. This is maybe something Lewis fans have quickly forgotten..

And as Vettel said after Abu Dhabi: "You don´t become champion by luck.."
Posts: 24
WOLFGANG......Toto Wolff made that statement regarding Hamilton BEFORE Rosberg's announced retirement, which I thought at the time probably didn't go down well with Nico.

Regarding Malaysia. If that engine failure hadn't occur to Lewis while comfortably leading the race, with only 16 laps to go. Rosberg going into the last race at Abu Dhabi, would have been 16 points behind Lewis...16 points !
Posts: 313
i didn´t get that toto said that before his retirement.

nevertheless: The points had surely been that way no matter, but let us ask the question ín that context what would´ve been if Rosberg didn´t let Lewis past in Monaco, if Lewis didn´t kick out Rosberg in Spain and if Lewis didn´t push Rosberg off the track in Canada..

So you see it´s rubbish to say lewis´ engine failure is responsible for Nico being champion.
Posts: 12
forza ferrari!!! wish the best for ferrari and also vet who has a great season so far !!!

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