Niki Lauda denies Mercedes eyeing Sebastian Vettel for 2018

Niki Lauda watches the action during final practice ahead of the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 7, 2014
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Niki Lauda is heading to Australia denying rumours that Mercedes are lining up a tilt to sign Sebastian Vettel.

Niki Lauda is heading to Australia denying rumours that Mercedes are lining up a tilt to sign Sebastian Vettel.

The German team does not deny that Nico Rosberg's successor, Valtteri Bottas, was given a mere one-year deal so that a bigger name might be signed up for 2018, but F1 legend Lauda does deny that the big plan is to lure German Vettel from Ferrari.

"That is not our plan - I must say that quite clearly," the triple world champion and Mercedes team chairman told the Austrian broadcaster ORF.

"We're going to start with Bottas and [Lewis] Hamilton and see how it goes."

The season-opening Australian Grand Prix takes place this Sunday.

Niki Lauda watches the action during final practice ahead of the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 7, 2014
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TeamPoints
1Mercedes330
2Ferrari275
3Red Bull174
4Force India95
5Williams-Mercedes41
6Toro Rosso33
7Haas29
8Renault26
9Sauber5
10McLaren2
DriversTeamPoints
1Sebastian VettelFerrari177
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes176
3Valtteri BottasMercedes154
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull117
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari98
6Max VerstappenRed Bull57
7Sergio PerezForce India52
8Esteban OconForce India43
9Carlos SainzToro Rosso29
10Nico HulkenbergRenault26
11Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes23
12Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes18
13Romain GrosjeanHaas18
14Kevin MagnussenHaas11
15Pascal WehrleinSauber5
16Daniil KvyatToro Rosso4
17Fernando AlonsoMcLaren2
18Jolyon PalmerRenault0
19Marcus EricssonSauber0
20Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren0
21Antonio GiovinazziSauber0
22Jenson ButtonMcLaren0
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