UPDATE: Mercedes has issued a statement on behalf of Niki Lauda to clarify his comments, says Hamilton didn't 'lie' or damage a hotel room. Click to read more
Niki Lauda says Lewis Hamilton 'lied' when he suggested he had developed a good relationship with Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg ahead of their controversial collision in Austria.
In an interview with the Daily Mail
last month, Hamilton claimed his and Rosberg's fractious relationship had cooled in recent weeks, saying a 20min conversation in the pool of the Monaco apartment building they both reside in had put them on good terms.
"It's actually really good with Nico at the moment - really, really good, surprisingly,” he remarked at the time.
However, Mercedes non-executive chairman Lauda has laughed off the notion that the two drivers are getting on well, telling Servus TV
in an interview filmed before their collision on the final lap of the Austrian Grand Prix, that Hamilton made it up.
"Lewis lied about that," he said. "Simple as that. He just said something. He wanted to be the softener in order to have his peace last weekend. He does what he can. The fight gets hotter the longer Nico is in front.
"He did it because he crashed [in Baku qualifying]. He'll have to pay for it, you can count on that. "He told me I couldn't come in because he was going to destroy everything. This is how it was."
In the wake of the clash in Spielberg – for which Rosberg was blamed and punished with a ten-second penalty -, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says team orders may now be the only way forward for the two drivers to prevent similar incidents in the future.
However, ahead of the British Grand Prix, the Daily Telepgraph
is reporting Mercedes could take the matter further and threaten race suspensions if it feels its drivers are not heeding strict warnings from the team.
Rosberg leads Hamilton by 11 points coming into the tenth round of the season at Silverstone.