Niki Lauda has thanked the Formula 1 community for its support and messages as he continues to recover from a lung transplant, and is hopeful of returning to the paddock "soon."

Three-time F1 world champion and Mercedes non-executive chairman Lauda was hospitalised back in August to undergo a lung transplant, and was discharged at the end of October to continue his rehabilitation.

In his first message since surgery that was posted to Mercedes' F1 social media accounts on Saturday morning, Lauda paid tribute to the F1 community and to the Mercedes team following its fifth straight championship success this year, led by Lewis Hamilton.

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"A message to my team and my friends. As you all know, I had a rough time from my health point of view, and the support I got from all you people on my way was unbelievable," Lauda said.

"I was out of bed quicker because I felt to be home in a big strong family and friends. Therefore the achievement of this year, outstanding, five championships in a row, Lewis again, [Valtteri] Bottas right there, we could not have done a better job.

"And now the important message is I'll be there soon. Off we go, off we go, the pressure comes for the sixth time. Thank you very much."

Lauda has been an integral part of Mercedes' F1 project since September 2012, working with team boss Toto Wolff, and notably played a key role in signing Hamilton from McLaren for the start of the 2013 season.

Mercedes paid a special tribute to Lauda in its title celebrations after the Brazilian Grand Prix as all team members donned the Austrian's famous red cap.

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