A WORD IN YOUR EAR: Niki Lauda will speak with Lewis Hamilton (left) and Nico Rosberg
WITH THE relationship between Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at an all time low, it appears Formula One legend Niki Lauda will take on the role of peacemaker.
Things between the two were already on shaky ground, but it was visibly clear that matters had deteriorated further after the controversial events during qualifying of the Monaco Grand Prix. During the national anthems and interviews on the podium following the race, no words were exchanged between the rivals and they could barely look at each other.
Three-time champion, Lauda, was instrumental in persuading Hamilton to make the move from McLaren and has been non-executive chairman at Mercedes since 2012.
He said: "They were arguing [after qualifying] about whether Nico did it deliberately but the stewards cleared him, which is for me the most important thing, and Nico said: 'No, I'm sorry, I braked too late', for which I have respect.'
"We had a race incident before in Barcelona - the previous race] - where Lewis did something and then we said 'Hey, this is not correct'. And he said he was sorry.
"They're not children. They're grown-up professionals who have their difficulties, but I will help them to overcome them in a nice way and they will understand."
Although the Stevenage-born driver did not say in public that he thought Rosberg's actions were deliberate, his refusal to say it was an accident led many to believe he would not accept his team-mates explanation or apology.
Hamilton's anger was clear as he partook in his media commitments following Saturday's qualifying as he felt the German's actions had stopped him achieving pole position, as he looked to extend his championship lead. With Rosberg winning the race, the 29-year-old now sits four points behind him in second.
Lauda had his own issues with team-mates during his career, which included a rivalry with Frenchman Alain Prost. Prost's rocky relationship with Ayrton Senna is also the stuff of F1 legend. So, the Austrian is well placed to comment when he suggests these type of issues between team-mates are 'normal' within a racing environment.
"All I have to do is make sure it doesn't get out of hand," Lauda said.
"I will tell you they will continue in a highly professional way, hard fighting each other [on the track]. There is nothing more you can expect."
"The tension is building up, no question, but the team has to make sure the tension does not get out of hand and I know with my experience with other drivers in the past when it does get out of hand."