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Hamilton "blown away" by Alonso praise

NEWS STORY
11/11/2011

Lewis Hamilton admits to being "blown away" by some of the positive things Fernando Alonso has been saying about him.

The two enjoyed a turbulent time at McLaren in 2007, Hamilton's debut season in F1 and the Spaniard's first (and only) season with the Woking team.

For a number of reasons, some well known, others not so, the two didn't gel, the bad feeling within the team culminating in the exposure of Spygate, the scandal that was to cost McLaren $100m.

Now, at a time when the whole world appears to be turning against Hamilton, particularly the media, Alonso is one of the few to leap to the Englishman's defence.

In addition to suggesting that Hamilton might be struggling with the new Pirellis, blown diffusers and, ironically, an ever-improving teammate, the Spaniard was keen to point out the McLaren driver's strengths.

"Consider India, when he took second place in qualifying," he told reporters. "It's like soccer: if Real Madrid or Barcelona are not performing particularly well on a given season, that does not mean that they're not top league.

"In fact," he continued, "in winter testing he will be the only one I'll be watching closely. The other guys can win if they've got the best car; he's the one who's able to clinch a championship with a car that's not the best."

When told of Alonso's comments, Hamilton was clearly taken aback. "I'm blown away Fernando is so positive towards me despite my season," he said. "It's nice to know I've got support from some drivers.

"Despite the relationship we've had, I think our friendship and the respect we have for one another has got a lot stronger," he added. "So it's nice to see that coming out because I've only ever said he is one of the best drivers, if not the best driver here."

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