Lauda expects Hamilton response
2:30pm Monday 23rd June 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Niki Lauda has told Lewis Hamilton fans to expect their hero to come out fighting at next month's British Grand Prix.
Hamilton heads into his home race at Silverstone on July 6 some 29 points adrift of Mercedes rival Nico Rosberg in their battle for the Formula One title.
Although the 29-year-old performed brilliantly in atoning for his errors in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, moving up from ninth to second, Hamilton could only finish runner-up to Rosberg.
As far as three-times champion and Mercedes non-executive chairman Lauda is concerned, the scene is now set for Hamilton to conjure up a storming performance on home soil and thrust himself firmly back into the championship fight.
"I've told him to go to Silverstone and don't worry. I have no doubt he will fight back there," said the Austrian following a successful return for his own home race after an 11-year absence.
"It's his home grand prix, and with the crowd behind him that will lift his confidence. It's a race that comes at the perfect time for him.
"Unfortunately it is now a big gap (to Rosberg), no question, because Lewis' previous race in Montreal was a disaster for him (due to a retirement).
"But he will keep on fighting, don't worry. He will now be even more motivated going to Silverstone after this result and with the points difference.
"I'm really looking forward to a good race at Silverstone between the two, and that nobody else comes in between, a nd I am sure Lewis will be at the highest level he can find."
Lauda has also dismissed suggestions Hamilton is struggling mentally after seeing a three-point lead heading into the Monaco Grand Prix turn into such a considerable deficit after a further three races.
"He's not in any way disturbed, so I've no need to coach him at all," said Lauda when it was suggested to him he should offer the Briton his guidance.
"I've known him for a long time and he's absolutely perfect in his head, there is nothing wrong. He's highly motivated.
"Even with his qualifying mistake, he said it was his fault and he made up for it right away in the race, so there is no worry at all."
Lauda, however, has at least urged Hamilton not to get paranoid the team is favouring Rosberg over him.
Hamilton finished second to Rosberg at the Red Bull Ring by 1.9secs, the exact time lost over the course of the two pit stops.
Hamilton lost 0.9secs at the first as he apparently overshot his pit box by inches, although replays suggested that was not the case.
The further second went missing at the second stop due to a fault in changing the wheel.
In response Lauda said: "He must simply push harder.
"In the race you cannot get paranoid. You simply have to catch up, and he nearly did that at the end. It was a good race.
"Out of a difficult position, because qualifying didn't go the way we wanted, with Lewis ninth, he made a good start and came up (through the field) right away.
"In the end it was a difficult race for Mercedes, but thank God we finished first and second."
It was not so long ago Lauda had described Hamilton as "unbeatable" as the 29-year-old embarked on his run of four consecutive wins.
That tag has been tarnished of late, but by way of explanation Lauda added: "I meant when he is winning a race from start to finish he is unbeatable, but things change.
"One race one driver is winning, the next the other is winning, so for us it's the perfect combination."
Despite Mercedes' motorsport boss Toto Wolff's claims the duo are playing tricks with one another that is proving detrimental to the team, Lauda has insisted that is not the case.
"No, they are both happily fighting one another. There is no trouble at all," said Lauda.
"They've been pushing each other hard since Melbourne (the season-opening Australian Grand Prix), all the way through to now.
"They're doing a perfect job. They're professionals, they don't hit each other, and they pull the whole team forward so it cannot get better."