Oz win a confidence boost for Rosberg – Lauda

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Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda says winning the 2016 F1 season opener gives Nico Rosberg a confidence boost in his intra-team battle with Lewis Hamilton.

With mistakes in free practice and qualifying, Rosberg’s Australian Grand Prix weekend had not been a promising one until he emerged from an action-packed race to clinch victory in Melbourne.

The German, who lost out to Hamilton in the last two Drivers’ championships, is leading the way in the standings for the first time in 18 months and the 2014 Italian GP.

“You need this to have a good start to the season because it gives [Rosberg] confidence,” Lauda said. “If it had been the other way around and Lewis had won, he would have suffered because he always suffers when Lewis is there.

“For him this race was important to mentally stay strong and have a good baseline for the next one. It’s good for him and for us, because the more they fight each other the better it is for me!”

Having been extremely vocal against F1 and the ill-fated qualifying system, Lauda thinks Sunday’s wild grand prix was the best possible answer even if it nearly came at the expense of Mercedes.

“It was an exciting race first of all,” the triple world champion commented. “I have never seen anything like this in the last three years and I have to say, to be fair to the sport, the race was half decided at the start because Ferrari did an incredible start with both cars.”

“We screwed up and we have to find out why, but then the race took its way. I think it was the best start ever in Formula One, and the race we had showed that to everybody.”

Rosberg beats Hamilton after huge Alonso crash

As it happened: 2016 Australian Grand Prix