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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 June 2007, 06:21 GMT 07:21 UK
McLaren look to cool Hamilton row
Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton
Tensions between the McLaren drivers appear to be growing
McLaren boss Ron Dennis has denied Fernando Alonso's claims the team give preference to Lewis Hamilton.

The world champion told Spanish radio he had never been "completely comfortable", adding: "we knew all the support and help would go his way".

But Dennis told the McLaren website: "There is a healthy competition between the teams working on each car.

"But I can categorically state that both drivers have equal equipment, support and opportunity to win."

Alonso's comments to Spain's Cadena Ser radio came just two days after Hamilton claimed his maiden victory in Canada on Sunday.

The 26-year-old, who won the world title with Renault in 2005 and 2006, is eight points behind Hamilton in the championship.

606: DEBATE

The Spaniard said he had misgivings as soon as he joined the team at the end of 2006.

"From the first moment, I wasn't completely comfortable. I am in an English team, with an English team-mate, who is doing brilliantly," Alonso said.

"We knew all the support and help would go his way. It is something I understand and I'm not complaining."

But Dennis insisted that neither driver is favoured, adding: "It's completely understandable that the results of each Grand Prix are going to provide both the British and the Spanish media with an opportunity to hang on every word that the drivers say.

"Fernando's comments when read carefully are correct, he hasn't been with the team long and the relationship can only continue to develop.

"The team is not going to do anything to jeopardise this positive and growing partnership."

Fernando might have made two mistakes in a short period of time, but I don't think Hamilton is affecting him

Heikki Kovalainein
Renault driver

Alonso finished seventh in Montreal after falling foul - through no fault of his own - of a new rule forbidding drivers to pit in the initial stages of the safety car being deployed.

Although Alonso has won two races to Hamilton's one, Hamilton has been more consistent and has finished on the podium in each of the first six races.

Alonso also said Hamilton had been "lucky" to win in Canada because of the timing of the safety car.

"Lewis's win is good for the team. But it was very lucky as well as we were on similar strategies and if the safety car came out one lap before Lewis's stop we would have been eighth or ninth."

Alonso has made uncharacteristic mistakes at the start of two of the last three races, but Renault driver Heikki Kovalainen, who worked with Alonso last year, does not believe he is feeling the strain of Hamilton's brilliant debut season.

"He's not feeling the pressure," Kovalainen told BBC Sport.

"I don't think Lewis has any impact on him. Fernando is mentally very tough and is still one of the top guys.

"He pushes very hard for the win every race and mistakes can happen when you race like that.

"Yes, he might have made a mistake in Barcelona and one in Canada, and because they have happened in a short period of time it looks very dramatic, but I don't think it affects him.

"He is going to be very strong, fighting for the championship for sure."

SEE ALSO
McLaren favour Hamilton - Alonso
12 Jun 07 |  Formula One
Heikki Kovalainen column
12 Jun 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton hails 'historic' victory
10 Jun 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton takes maiden F1 victory
10 Jun 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton issues warning on 'bias'
08 Jun 07 |  Formula One
Lauda 'stunned' by Hamilton start
23 May 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton criticised by Villeneuve
06 Jun 07 |  Formula One
McLaren cleared over Hamilton row
30 May 07 |  Formula One
Alonso helped to Monaco victory
27 May 07 |  Formula One


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