Lauda - Lewis is getting worse

Three-times champion says Brit is putting too much pressure on himself

Former World Champion Niki Lauda has slated Lewis Hamilton's Bahrain Grand Prix performance, adding his belief that the McLaren-Mercedes driver's form has slumped this season.

Hamilton won the season-opening grand prix in Australia, however, he has struggled to match his Melbourne performance ever since.

The Malaysian Grand Prix saw Hamilton finishing fifth after a qualifying penalty saw him relegated to ninth place on the grid.

However, the 23-year-old then endured a weekend to forget in the Middle East - Hamilton suffering not one but two crashes at Sakhir.

Firstly, he slammed broadside into a tyre wall during Friday's second practice session, causing severe damage to his MP4-23 car and forcing his mechanics to rebuild it overnight.

Then, having made a tardy getaway from third place on the grid in Sunday's race, Hamilton proceeded to drive into the back of Fernando Alonso's Renault and had to pit for new nose.

He never fully recovered from the setback and eventually came home in 13th place, one lap behind race winner Felipe Massa.


It was a disappointing showing from a driver who should be fighting for race wins and Lauda, who won world titles in 1975, 1977 and 1984, reckons Hamilton has only himself to blame.

"At the moment Lewis has absolutely not impressed me," the Austrian told the Daily Mirror. "I thought he would get better this year, but he has got worse. He is in pretty bad shape.

"The crash with Fernando Alonso and, then on Friday in practice too, was absolutely needless. Lewis showed nothing in Bahrain."

When asked for the cause of Hamilton's problems, Lauda replied: "I think it's because of the pressure he is putting on himself."