In the latter half of the season much has been made of the tension between McLaren teammates Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton but ahead of Sunday's championship-deciding race the pair played down their supposed animosity. Facing questions during...
In the latter half of the season much has been made of the tension between McLaren teammates Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton but ahead of Sunday's championship-deciding race the pair played down their supposed animosity. Facing questions during the FIA press conference at Interlagos on Thursay, both drivers said their situation is not as fraught as the media likes to imply.
"I think it's as good as ever," said Hamilton when asked to describe their relationship. "I think we have got on quite well all year, despite what the media says. They always try to make a big gap between us and they haven't really succeeded. We just get on quite well and got on with our jobs and we continue to do that."
Alonso concurred: "As Lewis said, the media has been saying many, many things about us that weren't true. We never had problems with each other. We are obviously fighting on the track but off the track we have had a very good relationship from day one and it's still the same."
Presumably this courteous state of affairs will not extend to first-corner politeness come Sunday afternoon when the title is beckoning. However, neither Hamilton nor Alonso is about to take any reckless risks, especially when Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen will be ready to take advantage of any possible mishaps.
"We are professional racing drivers and I think obviously we don't want to crash with any of the drivers not just us," said Hamilton. "Neither of us wants to crash on Sunday. For me, going into that first corner you go in there ideally wanting to take the lead or to gain a place but without taking too many risks. In our own experience we know what too much of a risk is and what too little is."
There are various permutations of how the championship can be won for each of the three contenders but Hamilton, arguably, has the simplest task. If he scores the win or second place and he will take the crown -- but some wonder if the pressure may get to him. Alonso, on the other hand, has the experience of being in this situation twice before.
"Five or six races ago you just concentrated on doing your job, take the weekend like the final race of the championship," said the Spaniard "Now it's more a championship thought, so when you are in the car you don't care too much about the race result, you just concentrate on how many points you will get. I think especially in this last race it's about all the combinations we know that we need to be champion."
As for Raikkonen, he is simply gunning for the win and the rest is out of his hands -- even if he does stand on the top step his title chances depend on what Alonso and Hamilton do. "I try to do the best I can, I try to win the race, be (Ferrari) one and two and then it's not really up to us anymore," he remarked. "So that's really all we can do and hopefully we can achieve that."