All cool with Alonso, says Hamilton

London: Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton has cleared the air with Ferrari rival Fernando Alonso after a controversial European Grand Prix in Valencia.

"We are in touch. He has my number and I have his number," the McLaren driver told reporters ahead of Sunday`s British Grand Prix.

"We messaged the other day, things are cool. I just messaged him to see how he was doing and he said everything`s cool and he knows how the racing world works and this is a tough year."

Double world champion Alonso had criticised the Briton, his former McLaren team mate, after Hamilton finished second in the Spaniard`s home race despite being punished for illegally overtaking the safety car.

The Formula One stewards were also condemned after they took so long to impose the punishment that Hamilton had a sufficient margin to take a drive-through penalty without losing position.

Alonso, who had been right behind Hamilton when the safety car was deployed following Mark Webber`s big crash, ended up finishing ninth in the race although he was later moved up to eighth after others were punished.

The Spaniard had said the race was `manipulated` while Ferrari spoke of a `false race`.

Hamilton had suggested the comments were `sour grapes` in the immediate aftermath but Alonso said last week that he had calmed down and turned his attention to Silverstone.

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said he had no issue with what Alonso had said in the heat of the moment and encouraged drivers to speak their minds.

"You are going to get two drivers who see the same incident from completely different perspectives and want to vent their spleen on the day and thereafter," he told reporters after a fan forum last week.

"But you`ve got to have some of that. Alonso was fairly outspoken but actually people want a bit of that, it doesn`t worry me," the Briton added.

Whitmarsh said there had to be a limit but drivers also had to be able to query the stewards` decisions without fear of punishment.

"In the past you haven`t been able to question," he said.

"People complained about the sterility of conversations and debate within the paddock. Well, there was a regime in which you weren`t allowed to even hint at `have we got it right?`."

"I don`t think it`s reasonable for any of us to then go on a blast and criticise the FIA (International Automobile Federation) over anything, there have to be some limits and we have to be respectful to the FIA," added the chairman of the teams` association FOTA.

"But I think it`s acceptable for people to display their passion and enthusiasm and aggrievement from time to time in the sport. I think that`s a healthy thing."

Bureau Report


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