Mercedes has gone on the record to clarify comments made by Niki Lauda that suggested Lewis Hamilton 'lied' about being on good terms with Nico Rosberg and that he damaged a hotel room in Baku after crashing out of qualifying for the European Grand Prix.
Following an interview with Servus TV, which was filmed prior to Hamilton and Rosberg's collision in the Austrian Grand Prix but shown afterwards, non-executive Mercedes chairman Lauda says Hamilton 'lied' when he said his relationship with his team-mate was 'surprisingly good'.
He then went on to say Hamilton was so angry at crashing out of qualifying in the Grand Prix of Europe last month that he wanted to 'destroy' his hotel room, even if Lauda doesn't suggest that he in fact do this.
Nevertheless, the widely reported interview have prompted Mercedes and Lauda to respond, with a statement issued on Lauda's behalf saying the comments have been 'blown wildly out of proportion', adding that he regrets the misunderstanding they have caused.
“Following his appearance on a television discussion show on Servus TV recorded prior to last weekend's Austrian GP, Niki Lauda would like to set the record straight and state the following:
“Lewis Hamilton did not in any way damage a hotel room or his private driver room at the circuit during the race weekend in Baku; and
“Lewis Hamilton did not lie about his relationship with team-mate Nico Rosberg.
“Niki regrets any misunderstanding caused by comments that have been blown wildly out of proportion compared with the casual context in which they were made.”
The comments come as Mercedes faces another internal upheaval following Hamilton and Rosberg's last lap contretemps in Austria, for which Rosberg was blamed and punished with a ten-second penalty. As a result of the clash, Toto Wolff has threatened team orders will be imposed.