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No team orders at McLaren, insists Lewis Hamilton

Fernando Alonso passes Felipe Massa

Alonso passes Massa for German GP lead

By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport at the Hungaroring

Lewis Hamilton says there will be no team orders at McLaren even though he is ahead of team-mate Jenson Button in the drivers' world championship.

Ferrari appeared to tell their drivers to swap position in Germany last weekend, but Hamilton ruled out McLaren employing such tactics.

"We do not operate with team orders," said the 2008 world champion ahead of Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.

"It's the way Jenson wants it, the way I want it, the way the team wants it."

A fresh controversy over team orders has dominated Formula 1 since Fernando Alonso won last Sunday's German Grand Prix after Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa appeared to be given a coded message to let Alonso pass for the lead.

I don't agree that team orders go on up and down the pit-lane - we don't have any at all

Jenson Button

At McLaren, Hamilton is leading Button by 14 points - with 25 available for a victory - with eight races of the season remaining.

Each has won two races, and both insist there is no favouritism at McLaren.

"All I can say is we're clearly showing that it's not necessary," added Hamilton.

"We've had some great races and at the last one in Germany we were both able to turn our engines up and fight right until the chequered flag.

"I don't think it's necessary - it's a race until the last race of the year for both drivers.

"However, you have to conduct yourself in a way in which the team can benefit from it as well in terms of both finishing in the points.

"I personally would not want to win the championship other than by winning it fairly."

Button added: "I don't agree that team orders go on up and down the pit-lane. We don't have any at all, so that's not correct.

It's only going to get more exciting the further we get into this season

World champion Jenson Button

"I'm very happy with our situation - we are free to fight and that's exciting for me.

"Having the same equipment as Lewis and racing against him is exciting, it's one of the biggest challenges in F1 and that's what I love.

"McLaren have proved they treat both drivers fairly, which I can confirm they do, and it's the way it should be when you're fighting for the world championship.

"I wouldn't be interested in racing if the team orders ban was lifted; we want 24 cars fighting for the win, not 12."

Hamilton claimed the 2008 world title by a single point and at the German Grand Prix that year his then team-mate Heikki Kovalainen appeared to cede position to the Englishman, who then went on to win the race to bolster his title charge.

Lewis Hamilton gets past Nelson Piquet

Kovalainen appears to cede position to Hamilton in 2008 at German Grand Prix

Hamilton, who subsequently passed three more drivers on his way to victory, insisted on Thursday that there had been no element of team orders.

"I slipstreamed Heikki down into Turn Six and overtook him as a normal overtaking manoeuvre," added Hamilton.

"We didn't come out of Turn Six, he backed off and I went by. Heikki was very supportive in the team. He was very sensible and I thanked him at the end of the race, he was a gentleman."

Hamilton also insisted there was no element of instruction during this season's Turkish Grand Prix.

The McLarens were told to save fuel towards the end of the race but soon afterwards Button, who at that stage had won two races to Hamilton's none, challenged Hamilton for the lead and passed him briefly only for Hamilton to re-pass.

"That was clearly a miscommunication from our team," Hamilton commented.

"Jenson overtook me but it was just a miscommunication between myself and the engineers. It was not a worry.

"We have to earn it ourselves and if Jenson is doing a better job one weekend then he's doing a better job and vice versa."

ANDREW BENSON'S BLOG

The top five drivers in the title race are covered by only 34 points and Button says it is far too early for teams to start showing favouritism to one driver or another.

"If Massa had won in Germany he would have been 23 points behind Fernando so it's very close halfway through the season.

"It's still a great battle and it's not just between us two. It's the Red Bulls too and Alonso, it seems, at the moment.

"It's an exciting year for F1, there's been some controversy - some positive, some negative. But for me it's only going to get more exciting the further we get into this season.

"Hopefully this race we can be more competitive and fight with the Red Bulls and Ferraris… and five or six cars competing for victory is exciting for the sport."



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see also
I am not a number two, says Massa
29 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
Ferrari boss slams F1 'hypocrisy'
26 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
Jordan wants orders rule scrapped
26 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
Alonso secures controversial win
26 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
Ferrari fined but result stands
25 Jul 10 |  Formula 1


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