Lauda: Hamilton can succeed where Schumacher failed
1 October 2012 – Lewis Hamilton could boost his reputation by taking the Mercedes team to the top in F1: something Michael Schumacher has failed to do since 2010. That is the viewpoint of Niki Lauda, three-time World Champion who is joining the squad as an advisor.
Lauda – Champion of 1975, 1977 and 1984 with Ferrari and McLaren, respectively – is believed to have been an instrumental factor in Hamilton’s decision to switch from McLaren to the Mercedes works outfit. Lauda himself will be joining the Brackley-based team as Non-Executive Chairman of its Board of Directors.
“In a bad car he is the best driver in the world because he is unbelievably quick and he makes no compromise,” Lauda told Sportsweek on BBC Radio 5 live. “Lewis joining is high motivation. They have realised their weaknesses.”
Talking of Hamilton’s decision to jump ship from McLaren, Lauda continued:
“I was impressed with his approach to things - very pragmatic, no emotions whatsoever. The real discussion was, 'Why should I leave a competitive car where my life is easy in the future?' So my argument was: ‘If you're looking for a new challenge, then certainly the Mercedes team is one. Think of it the other way round. If Schumacher couldn't get the Mercedes team running up front for three years and you next year are doing much better, it makes a huge impact on your personality and people will rate you much higher. In the end it convinced him that the challenge is what he wants to do. For a competitive guy like Lewis, it's very interesting.”
Hamilton will now partner former karting team-mate Nico Rosberg.
“The Hamilton effect will push Rosberg to go quicker and Nico will push Hamilton to go quicker - and that is all you need in a team,” Lauda summed up.
Since finishing second and just missing out on the world title in 2007, Hamilton claimed the honours by a single point one year later. Since then, he has finished the next three seasons either fifth or fourth in the standings and currently sits fourth.