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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 June 2007, 20:28 GMT 21:28 UK
McLaren duo backed by Coulthard
By BBC Sport's Olly Foster

Lewis Hamilton (l) and Fernando Alonso
Hamilton and Alonso do battle again in France on 1 July
David Coulthard has backed Mclaren to get Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso working together for the good of the team over the rest of the season.

When Hamilton secured his maiden win in Canada, Alonso accused the team of preferential treatment towards him.

Coulthard spent nine years at McLaren and says experienced team principal Ron Dennis can sort out driver conflicts.

"Ron is more than used to dealing with pressure and he knows how to handle that kind of scenario," said Coulthard.

Tensions have surfaced between the two drivers but Coulthard added: "Ron has been in charge of McLaren for more than 20 years and the team is well used to dealing with high levels of success.

"They had the explosive mix of Senna and Prost as team-mates. They won 15 out of 16 grands prix in one year."

Alonso has been given assurances by the team that both drivers are equal but as the Formula One championship heads to Magny-Cours and the French Grand Prix on 1 July, Coulthard has pinpointed one issue that may cause friction.

It will be very difficult for Ron Dennis not to have a special feeling of enjoyment when Lewis is getting the results

David Coulthard

Hamilton was spotted by McLaren when he was a teenage champion in go-karts, so feels that the relationship with Dennis will always alienate Alonso.

"I'll think he'll have a special affinity with Lewis because he has backed him for over nine years.

"Despite the respect that he has for Fernando it will be very difficult for Ron not to have a special feeling of enjoyment when Lewis is getting the results," said Coulthard.

Hamilton has been getting results like no other rookie in the history of the sport and Dennis has expressed some concerns about the media circus that has surrounded the meteoric rise of his young star.

The interest in his home Grand Prix at Silverstone has reached fever pitch. Coulthard, twice a winner of the British Grand Prix, is backing Hamilton to keep his cool on 8 July, and also for the rest of the season, and to lift the drivers' title.

"For Lewis it will be a walk in the park. He won't have any big problems with keeping his focus on the driving.

"He has a great opportunity to become the first British winner there since me in 2000. He's absolutely in the driving seat.

"If he continues to grow as a driver through the rest of the year and he is only going to get better, why would he lose the championship?''



SEE ALSO
The word on Lewis
20 Jun 07 |  Formula One
Alonso happier after Indianapolis
20 Jun 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton 'could save British GP'
19 Jun 07 |  Formula One
Prost warns McLaren over tactics
18 Jun 07 |  Formula One
Superb Hamilton takes US victory
17 Jun 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton rejects Alonso complaint
14 Jun 07 |  Formula One
McLaren look to cool Hamilton row
13 Jun 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton takes maiden F1 victory
10 Jun 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton's early years
18 Jun 07 |  Motorsport


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