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Hamilton: don’t believe the hype 10 Aug 2007

(L to R): Pole sitter Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren with team mate Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 4 August 2007

After days of sensationalist media claims that he is ‘at war’ with McLaren team mate Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton has moved to quell what he insists are misleading stories.

It follows last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, in which Alonso was penalised for impeding Hamilton during qualifying. As a result, the Englishman - who admitted he had disobeyed a team order to move over for the champion during the session - inherited pole position and went on to win the race. Alonso finished only fourth.

Since then, the press - particularly in Britain and Spain - has been full of stories suggesting the drivers are no longer talking. However, Hamilton has now taken the unusual step of releasing a press statement through McLaren to refute the claims once and for all.

“For the record, Fernando and I are fiercely competitive and respectful of each other,” he said. “We are both ambitious drivers who want to win. However, we are not drivers at war, as has been widely reported.

“Although we did not speak on Sunday we have spoken since the weekend and continue to have a professional working relationship. In fact, Fernando and I plan to meet up over the holiday period.”

Hamilton also denied stories suggesting he had used inappropriate language with team boss Ron Dennis and expressed his disappointment that the press had chosen to publish what he described as “inflammatory and untrue material”.

“As an individual in my first year in Formula One I have done my utmost to conduct myself in a professional and open manner,” said Hamilton. “Of course, I have made mistakes, not least during the last weekend, and those are open to public scrutiny. I have my own regrets and have dealt with matters arising.

“However, it is disappointing that inflammatory and untrue material is given to the media and published which may damage reputations. This inflammatory material is then commentated on by many others as if it is factual.

“Whilst I wouldn't normally communicate through press statements, I felt it important to set this matter straight."

Hamilton leads the drivers’ championship by seven points from Alonso.