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2017-05-24 18:55

MERCEDES VS FERRARI: Niki Lauda has hailed the Ferrari versus Mercedes duel for the 2017 world championship. Image: AFP / William West

Switzerland - Niki Lauda has hailed the Ferrari versus Mercedes duel for the 2017 world championship.

So far this year, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have each won two grands prix, and are separated in the standings by just 6 points.

That duel culminated in the recent Spanish Grand Prix, which Lauda said he enjoyed watching.

Highest level

The Mercedes team chairman told the Swiss newspaper Blick: "It was racing at the highest level. It does not get any better.  Pure fascination.

READ: #SpanishGP: Hamilton wins tight battle against Vettel

"A four time world champion and a three-time world champion fighting for Ferrari and Mercedes in the two best cars in the world.  There is no better advertising for the sport." 

Lauda said he thinks that battle will continue all the way through the year.

The Austrian said:"Sure --the rest cannot keep up.  It's as simple as that." 

And so he thinks Vettel and Hamilton's respective Finnish teammates, Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas, will play important supportive roles.

Raikkonen and Bottas in supportive roles

Lauda added: "Raikkonen and Bottas will probably play a decisive role for Ferrari or Mercedes winning the constructors' world championship.

"I would say Bottas is now as good as Rosberg was.  And maybe a bit better than Raikkonen." 

READ: What a race! Ferrari wins 2017 Australian GP

In that way, he hopes it is the drivers rather than the cars that determine who is crowned champion in the end.

The Formula 1 legend concluded: "Reliability is important in every world championship.

"The turbo problem Bottas had in Barcelona hurts us.  Now our well-known English-German quality control will have to improve.

"We do not want a world championship of technical failures."

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