Lauda: "You cannot win being a nice guy"

Lauda & Hamilton

Niki Lauda reckons you need to discard any pretence of being a 'nice guy' to conquer the Formula 1 championship.

The Mercedes non-executive chairman plays an important role in driver management at the German squad, and says he will continue to monitor Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in their increasingly fierce battle for the F1 title.

And the three-time world champion - who built a reputation as an uncompromising, determined racer - added that he accepts the escalating bitterness in their relationship, because nice guys can't win in F1.

"The tension is building up, no question, but we have to make sure the tension doesn't get out of hand," Lauda told Sky Sports.

"I know with my experience and with our drivers in the past when it gets out of hand. So if they don't say hello in the morning anymore to each other, then I think it's out of hand.

"[But] you have to be a b*****d if you want to win in Formula 1 anyway," continued the Austrian. "No question. You cannot win being a nice guy. Tell me one nice guy out there?"

Lauda also explained what he sees as the different strengths of his driver pairing.

"Honestly, one thing is clear: Lewis, from my point of view, has one, two tenths advantage on Nico because he can get the laps in qualifying in order. Nico is working hard with the mechanics, the engineers, with the tyres, how many laps, forward and backwards.

"So we have one natural talent, very emotional, and we have another guy who is doing the same job in another way. So we are in a very comfortable situation.

"We have two different drivers, but in the end they do the same speed, or the same results. So it's a very good situation."

Rosberg's Monaco victory moved him four points ahead of Hamilton in the world title fight. Their next destination is Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix, a race Hamilton has won on three previous occasions.