Lauda: Hamilton trashed Baku dressing room, lied about Rosberg relationship

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Mercedes non-executive director Niki Lauda claims that Lewis Hamilton trashed his dressing room following qualifying for the European Grand Prix in Baku last month, and has lied about his relationship with teammate Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton said in an interview last month that his relationship with Rosberg was “really good at the moment” after they chatted in Monaco and defused much of the underlying tension between them.

However, their rivalry flared up once again in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix when they collided on the final lap of the race.

Rosberg was deemed to have caused the collision, leading Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff to suggest that team orders may need to be used in the future.

Hamilton went on to win the race and cut Rosberg’s championship lead to just 11 points, but Lauda claims that the tension between Mercedes’ drivers still burns away.

“Lewis lied about this, simple as that,” Lauda said on Servus TV last week.

“He just said something. He wanted to be the softener in order to have his peace last weekend.

“You can rely upon it, he is not a peace maker.

“The fight gets hotter the longer Nico is in front.”

Lauda also claimed that Hamilton trashed his private dressing room in Mercedes’ hospitality unit in Baku after crashing out of qualifying, while Rosberg claimed pole.

“He did it because he had crashed,” Lauda said.

“He told me I couldn’t come in because he was going to destroy everything. This is how it was.

“He’ll have to pay for that [damage]. You can count on it.”

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
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SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.