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Page last updated at 19:19 GMT, Thursday, 7 May 2009 20:19 UK

Alonso offers advice to Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso
Hamilton found an unlikely voice of support from one-time team-mate Alonso

Fernando Alonso has offered advice to former team-mate Lewis Hamilton as the Briton looks to rebuild his reputation after the recent "lie-gate" scandal.

Hamilton and McLaren narrowly avoided serious sanctions after being caught blatantly lying to race stewards in Australia and Malaysia.

But, with many claiming the row has seriously damaged Hamilton's image, Alonso offered support to the Briton.

"He is a great champion and should just keep winning," said the Spaniard.

"Lewis has always been a great driver. He fought for the world championship in his first season in Formula One, and won it in the second season.

"So to help his reputation that is damaged now, that is very easy - just keep winning. He will make people, his supporters, happy.

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"That is very important. To do our job, to give the maximum in the car, win races, championships, that's the best thing you can do."

Alonso's comments appear all the more heartfelt given he and Hamilton endured a turbulent relationship as McLaren drivers during the 2007 season, with the Spaniard eventually quitting the team to return to Renault.

However, the 27-year-old double world champion insisted his competition with Hamilton was one he missed, saying: "We had good competition that helped each other to find our limits, and I can say I miss that competition in a way because it was fun to push and find new limits for ourselves.

"The problems I had there (at McLaren) were with the big bosses and the philosophy of the team, which is why I decided to move on from that period of my career."

At a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, McLaren were handed a suspended three-race ban which would only be enforced should they err again or further evidence into the case be discovered.

I hope over the course of time people will get to know exactly who I am and understand that I am, in actual fact, a good person

Lewis Hamilton

A line has effectively been drawn under the incident, but the lasting effect on Hamilton's reputation remains, with legendary racing figure Stirling Moss recently admitting he felt "let down" by Hamilton's actions.

But the 24-year-old Hamilton responded: "I need to keep being me, remain humble and try to continue to do a good job.

"I hope over the course of time people will get to know exactly who I am and understand that I am, in actual fact, a good person, and I do what I do because I love it."

And he insisted the team have carried on as normal ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

"What's been impressive is the team have not been affected by it," he said. "We've been pushing since the test we had here (Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya), and fortunately through past experiences they've been very, very strong altogether and focused on the primary goal.

"For sure it's a weight off the shoulders of the team (the punishment), and the guys back at the factory who can focus more on getting the car back to the front.

"It can only get pretty good for them."



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see also
F1 drivers stand behind Ferrari
07 May 09 |  Formula 1
Bold Button to push for Spain win
07 May 09 |  Formula 1
McLaren given suspended race ban
29 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Hamilton considered quitting F1
26 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
McLaren make apology for 'lying'
24 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Season has been tough - Hamilton
24 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Hamilton not upset by Dennis exit
17 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
McLaren's Dennis quits Formula 1
16 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Hamilton faces long wait for wins
19 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
I am not a liar, insists Hamilton
03 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
McLaren hit by constructors' ban
13 Sep 07 |  Formula 1


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