Niki Lauda’s ‘pampered’ Lewis Hamilton confession revealed

Sam Cooper
Niki Lauda and Lewis Hamilton

Niki Lauda played a huge role in getting Lewis Hamilton to sign for Mercedes.

Niki Lauda reportedly said Lewis Hamilton liked to feel “pampered” after he played a key role in getting the driver to sign for Mercedes.

Lauda may be one of the most influential figures in Mercedes’ history despite having never driven for them.

In his role as non-executive chairman, he was part of the team during their title-winning runs but there is arguably nothing more important that he did for the team by getting Hamilton to agree to swap McLaren for Mercedes in 2013.

‘Pampered’ admission made by Niki Lauda about Lewis Hamilton

Lauda spoke to Hamilton during negotiations and convinced him of the Mercedes dream and it seems the Austrian got an idea of what Hamilton likes.

“I’ve already learned from Niki Lauda: Lewis likes to be pampered,” Christian Danner told the German newspaper the Express. “If I may put it that way. I know that he also had to be praised by Toto Wolff.

“Even in the psychological duel with Nico Rosberg. He was too sensitive in 2016 and lost the title.”

Massaging a driver’s ego is a requirement of an F1 team principal but Danner believes Mercedes could be in for a tough job of keeping both drivers happy this season.,

“I think the coming season will be more exciting because no one will take anyone else into account now,” he said. “George Russell will no longer make room for Hamilton at Mercedes.”

As for the move itself, Danner was, like many, caught off guard by it.

“Yes, that totally surprised me,” he said of the move. “That’s very brave of Lewis when I see what happened to Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari.

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“It only worked out well for Kimi in 2007, with a lot of luck, but not for Vettel’s side. History has taught us that this can even scratch the paint for Lewis.

“Of course [Charles] Leclerc knows everything and everyone and is the benchmark. But Carlos Sainz was also able to break some of that, so you have to go through that as a driver.”

In terms of replacements, Danner said Wolff will get “anyone he wants” including Max Verstappen.

“A top team like Mercedes needs an absolute winning driver,” Danner said.

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