Niki Lauda has played down Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg's spat following the Chinese Grand Prix, branding them 'egocentric bastards' and endorsing their right to be 'selfish' in the right situation.

Rosberg complained that Hamilton drove tactically during the second stint of the Chinese Grand Prix to force him into the clutches of the close-following Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari.

With Hamilton rebuffing the suggestion that he didn't heed a call to speed up by saying he only concentrates on his own race, Rosberg retorted by saying his actions unnecessarily compromised Mercedes' chances of securing a 1-2 result.

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Rekindling memories of their infamous spats during a tight 2014 title battle, Lauda remains unmoved Rosberg's claims, saying it takes an 'egocentric bastard' to do what he needs to win the title.

"One thing is clear from my point of view, Lewis had pole position and controlled the race from the beginning to the end," he said. "Therefore there is no need for a quarrel.

"Sure, [Lewis] will drive selfish. These guys, I call them egocentric bastards, let's say, and this is the only way to win a championship - it's the oldest thing.

"So Nico does the same to Lewis and Lewis the same to Nico in the end if the s**t hits the fan. I fully agree, this is the way it is. Therefore we race."

Lauda went on to say that Rosberg can be as 'nasty' as Hamilton if he needs to be, but says he must rely on his own ability to get the better of his team-mate.

"Lewis bites, he has the talent to bite, but Nico is as nasty as he is if he sees the chance. Don't worry."

"For sure it hurts, When I was being beaten by Prost all the time in the old days I was not happy. On the other hand Nico is a guy who comes back quickly, so thank God there is only one week to the next race so the talk and bulls**t will stop quickly when they start driving again on Friday.

"He then has to come back to his best level in qualifying. He nearly got Lewis anyway, so he is right there, so the whole thing will stop quickly."