Niki Lauda on Mercedes rift: “Before we go to Canada, this will be solved”

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With Mercedes teammates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton’s relationship continuing to degenerate as they fight for the World Championship, Niki Lauda will seek to have the duo back on civil terms by the Canadian Grand Prix in two weeks.

“Before we go to Canada, this will be solved,” Lauda, Merc’s non-executive chairman and three-time World Champion, said to Britain’s Press Association.

“I will speak to them like I always do. They always call me when they have problems, so I think it will sort itself out.

“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.”

Lauda is certainly no stranger to tense situations in the paddock, but in his mind, there is a need for some boundaries in Rosberg and Hamilton’s battle.

“It’s normal,” the Austrian said. “I had the same with [Alain] Prost. I hated the guy, but at least I said ‘Hello’ in the morning.

“There are certain limits – and these certain limits I can re-introduce because I speak their language, the drivers’ language – and they do understand me, they like me, and there is no issue.”

Rosberg successfully held off Hamilton last Sunday to win his second straight Monaco Grand Prix, snapping an impressive four-race winning streak by the British driver.

Hamilton seemed agitated at several points of the weekend, including qualifying, where Rosberg had an off at the Mirabeau corner that triggered the yellow flag – and kept an angry Hamilton from having one last shot at pole position.

An investigation of the incident led to no action being taken against Rosberg, who went on to win the Grand Prix from pole. On the podium, the two Merc drivers did not speak to each other.

With this in mind, Lauda, while understanding Hamilton’s frustration at finishing second, said that he didn’t appreciate him failing to at least acknowledge his German rival as the winner.

“What I did not like, and I will tell him this, is when you are up there and you don’t say ‘hello’ to your team-mate,” Lauda said. “This is not good.”

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Sebastien Bourdais

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MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. A dream start occurred for Sebastien Bourdais and the Dale Coyne Racing team upon their reunion, followed by a nightmare in Indianapolis with a huge crash in qualifying, and ended with a rapid recovery to build confidence for 2018.

Sebastien Bourdais, No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda

  • 2016: 14th Place, 1 Win, Best Start 3rd, 1 Podium, 3 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 24 Laps Led, 11.9 Avg. Start, 11.2 Avg. Finish
  • 2017: 21st Place (8 Starts), 1 Win, Best Start 6th, 2 Podiums, 2 Top-5, 5 Top-10, 74 Laps Led, 12.4 Avg. Start, 11.0 Avg. Finish

The 2017 campaign for Sebastien Bourdais upon his return to Dale Coyne Racing will forever be known as both a year of “what could have been” and a year of “what a comeback it was.”

The abnormal season for Bourdais stretched eight races with a three-month break in the middle owing to his own mistake qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, which left him with multiple pelvic fractures and a fracture to his right hip. His car was a rocket ship; but after two laps at 231 mph, Bourdais appeared to over-correct and destroyed the wall at Turn 2 in Indy in a massive 127G impact. It was a horrific looking accident, but one that also saw Bourdais rather lucky to have not been injured worse.

It set forth in motion an incredible recovery that saw Bourdais back testing the Monday after Mid-Ohio, just over two months since the accident, then in race action just over three months later at the 1.25-mile Gateway Motorsports Park oval, and because Bourdais is a regulation badass, he finished in the top-10 straight out of the box. He worked as hard as he did to return earlier than anticipated to avoid an offseason of questions asking if he’d come back and if he’d be strong enough to do so.

The recovery was a welcome story to end the year after the agony at Indy that stopped a potential title run or certainly top-five in points finish in its tracks. A classic Coyne strategy special vaulted Bourdais from last to first and a popular win in his U.S. hometown of St. Petersburg to kick off the year. A second place at Long Beach backed it up and eighth at Barber kept him atop the standings.

But Indy was shaping up to be an important bounce back weekend after Bourdais got taken out in Phoenix, then incurred an engine failure in the IMS road course race. And then, of course, his loud and violent accident qualifying for the ‘500 changed the course of the season.

After three “almost there” but largely unfulfilling years at KV Racing Technology, Bourdais embraced the family atmosphere back at Coyne along with longtime engineers Craig Hampson and Olivier Boisson, determined to continue punching above the team’s weight. He crafted a remarkable story all season and will be keen to fulfill it over the course of a proper full campaign in 2018.