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Since the season got underway and it became clear that Lewis Hamilton would be a force to be reckoned with, even in his rookie year, some have wondered how his relationship with Fernando Alonso would develop.
On the one hand, Alonso is the double World Champion, signed to McLaren - at great expense - while he still had over a year to run on his Renault contract. Alonso's meteoric rise, was warmly greeted by the sport, and media, at a time when some were growing tired of the Schumacher/Ferrari steamroller.
Now, in Lewis Hamilton, a new star is born, and certainly in Britain - now that the nasty German has retired - the new enemy is Alonso.
Much is made of the fact that Ron Dennis will be able to cope with these two precocious talents, after all, this is the man who brought Ayrton Senna to Woking to join Alain Prost. Then again, we all know how that ended.
Some are looking for the merest hint that all is not well within the McLaren camp, others are already claiming that there is friction between the two drivers.
Earlier this week in an interview with a Spanish radio station Alonso made comments regarding the situation at Woking. On the one hand the Spaniard could be seen as stating the obvious, that the English youngster, who has been on McLaren's books for nine years, is highly popular within the Woking team. On the other hand some might read Alonso's comments as whinging, as the suggestion that there is bias within the team. One only has to look at the headlines that have appeared following the 'interview' to see which way certain people are reading the Spaniards comments.
It is very easy to take a person's words out of context, especially when the person is not being interviewed in their native tongue, or when the interview has been translated from the interviewee's native tongue back into English.
At Indianapolis today, Lewis Hamilton was asked to give his opinion on Alonso's comments. In its desire not to take the English driver's words out of context, we will use his comments exactly as he made them. Where possible we will attempt to do the same when it comes to comments made by Fernando. We have no axe to grind, no need for sensationalism and no need to create or suggest tension where there isn't any.
Referring to the interview, Lewis was told that Alonso had said that "the team supports you more than him because you are British". He was then asked: "Do you feel there is all this support from the team, there is not equal support between the two drivers?"
"I find it strange he said that," said Hamilton, "because I feel that ever since he joined the team, the team have been extremely motivated to push us both toward winning. Ron and the other guys on the team have been working very hard to make sure we have equal opportunity. It's probably always going to be difficult in a business, but obviously I've got a great relationship with all the guys in the team because I've been with them since I was 13. At the end of the day when Fernando came into the team, they were extremely excited and I feel built a very good relationship with him. So I don't see why he would say that. But I guess because he is Spanish and I am English, he might feel that way, but I don't agree with it personally."
When asked if he thought Alonso was "surprised" by his results, and not expecting him to be as quick and win so early, Hamilton replied: "I doubt very much that he was expecting me to do as well as I have. But I don't know whether that's why he would be saying what he's saying. But definitely coming into the team, he's the two-time world champion and he's not really been challenged - well, I think he has some challenges in the past but not really had probably someone as close as me and as good a friend off the track probably. So it's a very difficult situation."
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