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Page last updated at 13:53 GMT, Tuesday, 29 June 2010 14:53 UK

Lewis Hamilton hits back at Fernando Alonso jibe

Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, Canadian Grand Prix
Hamilton and Alonso have rarely seen eye-to-eye

Lewis Hamilton has accused Fernando Alonso of sour grapes as their bitter rivalry resurfaced following Sunday's contentious European Grand Prix.

Alonso said the race was "manipulated," and accused Hamilton of disrespect for overtaking the safety car in Valencia.

Specifically asked if Alonso's reaction was a case of sour grapes, the McLaren driver replied: "Yeah."

And Hamilton added: "I saw him overtaken by a Sauber. He must have been completely in another world."

Referring to Kamui Kobayashi's overtaking manoeuvre on Alonso on the penultimate lap, Hamilton added: "It's very unlike him to be overtaken by a Sauber."

For his infringement, Hamilton was handed a drive-through penalty but retained second place behind Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.

Alonso had been just behind Hamilton in third when the safety car emerged from the pits but while Vettel and Hamilton scurried clear of the safety car, Alonso was at the head of the pack of the cars queuing behind it.

The Spaniard finished ninth, only to be promoted one place to eighth after an investigation into several drivers for driving too fast when the safety car was out.

I don't understand why I affected his race so much. Everyone has a right to their opinion, and he must be disappointed with his own result, but I didn't do anything to him

Lewis Hamilton

The stewards took 15 laps and nearly half an hour to hand down Hamilton's punishment, with the Englishman driving on for several more laps before coming in for the penalty.

The timing of the penalty meant that he could build up enough of a cushion to complete the drive-through without losing a place.

Alonso said after the race that "they gave the penalty but a bit too late - 20 laps to investigate one piece of overtaking".

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali, president Luca di Montezemolo and vice-president Piero Ferrari have all voiced their displeasure about the actions of Hamilton and the stewards in Spain last weekend.

President Luca di Montezemolo, claiming what took place was "unacceptable" and that it has created "dangerous precedents," has even suggested the FIA should look into the matter and take further action.

There is history here: bad blood, and simmering resentment. The circumstances of Sunday just happened to conspire to bring it all to the surface again and elements within Ferrari poured fuel onto the fire.

It is highly unlikely they will do so, nor are they likely to punish Alonso for comments that could be construed as calling into question the integrity of race director Charlie Whiting and his stewards.

Hamilton said: "I don't understand why I affected his race so much. Everyone has a right to their opinion, and he must be disappointed with his own result, but I didn't do anything to him."

Defending the stewards, who have penalised Hamilton for a number of infractions in the past, the 25-year-old added: "The FIA are doing an incredible job because they are allowing us to race this year."

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: "If you look at the incident itself it was very, very difficult to avoid what happened. It was minuscule."

Despite the grievances of Alonso and the Ferrari hierarchy, they appear to have little support from other teams in F1.

Red Bull Racing's Christian Horner said: "I think the safety car rules have not played out for Ferrari, and McLaren was perhaps a bit naughty with the way it worked it, but it got a penalty for that.

606: DEBATE
nickw1969

"Arguably it didn't cost them, but that's just the way it worked out. I don't think it was manipulated. The FIA just need to look at the safety car rules in the future."

Lotus Racing's chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne added: "I think it is just one of those things.

"Charlie is trying to do the job as he sees it, calls it as he sees it, and he has as difficult a job as anyone."

Hamilton's fierce rivalry with Spaniard Alonso goes back to the 2007 season when the pair had a tumultuous season as team-mates at McLaren.



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see also
Valencia GP damages F1 - Ferrari
28 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Alonso angry at 'unfair' result
27 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Vettel beats Hamilton in Euro GP
27 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
McLaren want Ferrari test ruling
26 Jun 10 |  Formula 1


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