Niki Lauda has played down reports he derided 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton as lacking charisma.

Niki Lauda has played down reports he derided 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton as lacking charisma.

The former triple world champion and German-language commentator told the Austrian news magazine Profil recently that the modern sport produces drivers who have failed to develop personalities.

"The only kind of charisma someone like Lewis Hamilton has is his (pop singer girlfriend) Ms Scherzinger," Lauda, who turned 60 on Sunday, was quoted as saying.

But in a subsequent interview with Italy's La Stampa, the winner of 25 grands prix backtracked and claimed his comments about the British reigning world champion were "misinterpreted".

But he added to the Italian newspaper: "Anyway, charisma doesn't make you any faster."

 

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