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Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda “wouldn’t have let” the feud between Red Bull and Mercedes escalate to the point it has, says Helmut Marko.

The Red Bull chief was speaking about former driver and Mercedes part owner Lauda, who died in 2019, in the wake of a bitter season in the F1. The two teams clashed several times with multiple crashes between drivers Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen and heated words exchanged between the team principals Toto Wolff and Christian Horner.

Marko believes Lauda would have diffused the situation. He told ServusTV: “It would not have escalated so much with Niki Lauda. It would certainly have been tough because he doesn’t like to lose either. But it would have gone with more composure.”

The season came to a head at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix where Verstappen claimed his first championship in controversial circumstances. Hamilton had led the majority of the race but when Nicholas Latifi crashed, a safety car was deployed and Verstappen pitted for new tyres.

When the track was safe, with one lap to go, race director Michael Masi allowed some cars to unlap themselves but others not which meant the Dutchman was right behind Hamilton. Verstappen overtook the British star and held him off to take the win.

Many are excited to see how more drama unfolds in the 2022 season but F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali says the relationship needs to “recover” between the teams.

“Those who live with certainties mean they sleep well. But we have many doubts and we have to face them. We have issues that will eventually have to be managed.

“We will have to evaluate day-by-day the relationship that must be recovered between Red Bull and Mercedes to avoid the personal clashes we have seen that serve no benefit.”