‘No deals’ as Mercedes duo battle for the title


Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton will be "free to race" for the World title come this Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Niki Lauda adamant that "no deals" will be made.

Rosberg holds a 12-point advantage over Hamilton as the Mercedes team-mates head into the season finale at the Yas Marina circuit.

The German's lead means all he needs to do is finish on the podium come Sunday afternoon and he will win his first World title.

But while the winner is yet to be decided, the title will definitely return to Brackley as Rosberg and Hamilton are the only two driver in contention.

And Lauda says they will be free to race to the chequered flag.

"Regardless of the standings, we won't tell them how to race," the Mercedes non-executive director told the Daily Mail.

"There will be no deals about how they go into the first corner. It is the same at every weekend – they are free to race. 

"They will both want to get on pole and to win. They will work on set-up and work hard to be the quickest. 

"Then when it comes to the last few laps and, say Nico is second or third, he will just be praying, "please, car, don’t stop on me"."

Lauda refuted suggestions that Mercedes have favoured Rosberg in this year's campaign.

Conspiracy theorists have criticised the team, using the pre-season reshuffling of crews between the two garages and Hamilton's numerous reliability issues as grounds for their complaints.

Lauda insists that it is not true.

"There is no favouritism," said the Austrian. "Honestly. 

"Toto (Wolff, the team principal) and I have been clear from the start that we leave it open for both drivers. That is the view from Dieter Zetsche (president of Mercedes’ parent company Daimler) down. 

"We have done everything we can in the factory to make sure that both cars will finish the race. We have looked at every detail. 

"Because it comes down the last race everybody is taking extra care with this."