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Write Hamilton off at your peril - Lauda

ESPN Staff
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Niki Lauda insists Lewis Hamilton is "absolutely perfect in his head" despite the 29-point deficit he has to make up to Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in the drivers' championship.

A costly mistake during qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix meant Hamilton had to start from ninth, leaving him with an uphill battle to challenge eventual winner Rosberg. It came one race after his retirement in Canada allowed Rosberg to gain 18 valuable points in the title fight but Lauda says he has not seen any signs that the recent shift in momentum is having a negative impact on Hamilton.

"I don't need to coach him at all," Lauda said to the suggestion Hamilton was mentally fragile. "I can tell you - I've known him a long time - he's absolutely perfect in his head, and that's it. There's nothing in this respect at all. Even after that qualifying mistake he said 'it was my mistake' and made up for it right away in the race.

"Lewis will fight back, there is no worry on my side at all, he is not in any way disturbed. He knows he has to fight hard now and beat his own team-mate to make up for the points. Wait for Silverstone, I guarantee you he will be there. It's his home race and home fans."

Mercedes non-executive chairman Lauda played a key role in poaching Hamilton from McLaren in the latter stages of 2012 and he thinks the recent races will have only made the Englishman stronger.

"It is [a big gap], because the Montreal race was a disaster for him but he will keep on fighting, don't worry. He will be more motivated now going to Silverstone after this result and with the points difference. I really look forward to a good race between them at Silverstone. I just hope that nobody else comes in between! We need to keep pushing the team forward again."

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