9 September 2014
F1 Italian Grand Prix: Lauda would have been happy with second place
Niki Lauda reckons Nico Rosberg should be content with second place in the Italian F1 Grand Prix, claiming the loss of seven points to Lewis Hamilton was 'the smallest price he could have paid' for mistakes.
Three-time F1 world champion Niki Lauda believes that Nico Rosberg should not be too disappointed at finishing second in Sunday's Italian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver came home behind team-mate – and championship rival – Lewis Hamilton at Monza, having made a mistake that handed the initiative back to the Briton, who had been slow away from pole position. The result allowed Hamilton to shave seven points from Rosberg's championship lead with six races remaining, but Lauda insists that the German remains in a strong position.
“For Nico to lose seven points is not bad,” he stressed, “If you are in the lead of the championship by 29 points, I would have been happy with second place. It was the smallest price he could have paid.”
Lauda was quick to praise both drivers, dismissing Rosberg's two trips down the turn one escape road as the most sensible thing he could have done after making a mistake under braking for the tight right-hander.
“The first one was no problem because he stayed in the lead but, here, it is more complicated because, when you brake too late, too hard, you flat-spot your tyres and your race is over,” he explained, “Therefore, you have to go more into the exit than other places so, at the end of his mistake, he made the right decision.”
The Austrian acknowledged that locking up for a second time 'made Lewis' life easy', but admitted that Hamilton had equally deserved victory, both for his fightback from the poor start and as some degree of payback following a season plagued by gremlins.
“Lewis did a perfect job,” Lauda insisted, “He's had problems in the past, especially in Spa and other technical issues, so I am happy for him that he won the race.
“Lewis' start was not his fault - and we have to check what it was - but coming out of this situation, he did a perfect job because both [drivers] drove the same lap times [and] never got in the DRS window. It was an unbelievable drive from both of them and, in the end, Lewis won the race.”
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