A 'shocked' Lewis Hamilton got a call from Niki Lauda

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Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda touched base with Lewis Hamilton earlier this week, and the Brit conveyed some reassuring news on the F1 legend.

Lauda was diagnosed with a sudden and severe lung disease over the summer that necessitated urgent surgery and a transplant in Vienna.

The operation was deemed a success but the three-time F1 world champion's recovery has been along and delicate process, with a few anxious moments as doctors closely monitored the reception and functioning of the new organ.

Progress has been steady however, and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff even revealed that Lauda had been keeping taps on the Silver Arrows squad and watching races on TV.

"He called me two days ago," said Hamilton in Austin. "I was shocked to hear from him."

"I said 'You sound younger than ever'. He's very determined to come back and grateful to the doctors for their good work and to his wife.

"He said he should be released from intensive care soon and then I can visit him. For sure I'll be in Vienna before the end of the season," Hamilton added.

"We miss him here in the team but we have his spirit at the races with us."

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