Niki Lauda has hailed Nico Rosberg's "great achievement" in winning six successive grands prix and believes Mercedes' two drivers will continue to improve as a result of their rivalry.
Rosberg has claimed victory in each of the first three Formula One races this season, having also finished the 2015 campaign with a trio of triumphs after team-mate Lewis Hamilton had secured a second successive drivers' title.
Three-time world champion Lauda, who now serves as Mercedes' non-executive chairman, feels the competition between the duo will benefit the team.
"Drivers are human and sometimes they just get it," Lauda said at the Laureus World Sports Awards, where he received a lifetime achievement prize.
"Nico Rosberg had that moment last year with winning the last three races. He has won six in a row, which is a great achievement.
"Now Lewis Hamilton will work hard in order to stop him. For me it is very important that the two race each other very hard, because that is how all of us become faster."
Lauda expressed delight at receiving his lifetime achievement award from Hamilton and Daniel Bruhl, the actor who played the part of the Austrian in the 2013 biographical film 'Rush'.
"Of course you are always happy to win such an award but it was special for me that Daniel Bruhl and Lewis Hamilton presented me the award together. I am happy about that."