Lauda says Ferrari tactics 'logical'
(GMM) Niki Lauda has played down comparisons between Sunday's Chinese grand prix and the infamous "team orders" scandal of 2002.
The former Ferrari driver and triple world champion said the way Kimi Raikkonen gave way to Felipe Massa in Shanghai cannot be compared to the Austrian grand prix eight years ago.
Back then, Ferrari boss Jean Todt ordered Rubens Barrichello to "let Michael (Schumacher) pass for the championship", triggering a furor and a ban on race-altering tactics.
But even though two Ferraris similarly swapped positions in China, Lauda says the situations cannot be compared.
"To me what happened was perfectly logical," the great Austrian told German broadcaster RTL. "You had two cars; one capable of becoming world champion, and one not.
"It was completely logical, and every spectator can understand that," he said.
Massa seemed reluctant to talk about the move with reporters in Shanghai, but Raikkonen made no secret that he let his teammate past in the interests of the team.
"I know what the team expects," the Finn said. "It is racing and I have nothing to lose or win in a way. I am driving for the team."
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton agreed that he and teammate Heikki Kovalainen would do the same.
"Indeed, events like this have already happened this season in other teams," Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali said, clearly referring to the Mercedes-powered drivers' position swapping at Hockenheim.
"It is a normal state of affairs in a sport like formula one," the Italian continued. "Our drivers are well aware what is in the best interests of the team and they acted accordingly."