Lauda: 'Mercedes have the best driver now'

30 September 2012 by Ryan Wood

Triple world champion Niki Lauda believes Mercedes now have the 'best driver in the world' following the signing of Lewis Hamilton for 2013.

Whilst Lauda has often been critical of the 27-year-old, the Austrian played a major part in convincing him to leave McLaren for the Anglo-German outfit where he hopes things will improve with the new signing.

"In a bad car he is the best driver in the world because he is unbelievably quick and he makes no compromise," Lauda told BBC 5Live.

"Lewis joining is high motivation," he added. They [Mercedes] have realised their weaknesses."

Lauda, who also joins Mercedes as a board member, explained the reasons behind why Hamilton chose to go through with the unlikely and rather surprising move.

"I was impressed with his approach to things, very pragmatic, no emotions whatsoever," continued 63-year-old. "The real discussion was 'why should I leave a competitive car where my life is easy in the future?' So my argument was if you're looking for a new challenge then certainly the Mercedes team is one.

"And think of it the other way round, if Schumacher couldn't get the Mercedes team running up front for three years and you next year are doing much better it makes a huge impact on your personality and people will rate you much higher.

"In the end it convinced him that the challenge is what he wants to do. For a competitive guy like Lewis, it's very interesting."

Lauda believes Hamilton will push the team and team-mate Nico Rosberg to do better, and race wins will come if they can deliver.

"The most important thing now is that [team principal] Ross [Brawn] and his team realises all the things that are wrong on this car and make a better car next year - the chances are very good. A lot of changes have been done.

"If the car is competitive, and this is possible, then he will win races, there is no question about it.

"The Hamilton effect will push Rosberg to go quicker and Nico will push Hamilton to go quicker and this is all you need in a team."