Lauda sees another Mercedes duel in 2015

Mon Nov 24, 2014 8:10am EST
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By Alan Baldwin

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Niki Lauda expects Nico Rosberg to recover from the blow of losing his Formula One title duel with Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton by coming back even more determined next year.

"Nico will fight back and Nico has the potential upwards," the team's non-executive chairman said after power unit problems at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix dashed Rosberg's outside hopes.

"There is still something to come out of his speed and performance and technical inputs he gives. So next year's going to be fun again between the two. And I hope nobody else will interfere."

Rosberg ended the year with five wins to Hamilton's 11 but challenged the Briton right to the very end of a season that at one point seemed to have damaged their friendship irreparably.

However, they shook hands and embraced after Sunday's race, with both saying complimentary things about the other.

"Lewis and Nico from lap to lap from the beginning of the season pushed each other," Lauda, himself a triple champion, told reporters.

"The most important is that both drivers developed the car with their driving style... everything we did was absolutely the same for both of them and therefore we have gone so quick."

Despite the sportsmanship shown in Abu Dhabi, and signs that the drivers' relationship had entered a new phase, Lauda was sure the tensions would remain.   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (L) speaks to former Formula One driver Niki Lauda of Austria during the first practice session of the Australian F1 Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne March 14, 2014. REUTERS/Brandon Malone