Hakkinen, Lauda don’t see eye to eye on Merc, McLaren

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I know this will come as a gigantic shock, but Mika Hakkinen and Niki Lauda (did you know we get an extra zero on our pay check anytime we get Lauda in a story?) have different expectations for the 2013 Formula 1 season.

According to Mika, it won’t be Lewis Hamilton or Mercedes’ year. Niki — who happens to have a little gig at Mercedes — thinks things are looking a bit better for the non-Brauns.

Here’s what the BBC offers us from Mika:

“I have a strong feeling McLaren are on top form this year. “Mercedes were not exactly up to the speed I expected them to be, so I don’t see them competing too much this year.”

Then Lauda:

“The cars are relatively close together. Vettel is, in my judgment at the moment, the fastest. The car [Red Bull] works well, looks reliable. My joy is the Mercedes now can compete with the top three teams.”

Top three teams, Niki? What about Lotus? It only more than doubled Mercedes’ points haul last year. Heck, Kimi Raikkonen alone bested Mercedes.

I have to admit, as a sub-plot on the season, a tight Mercedes-McLaren battle would be fun. But, despite Mercedes’ Herculean miles in testing, I’m not sure we’ve seen any reason to expect it.

Well, other than Sergio Perez.

Anyone out there want to join Niki’s enthusiasm?

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