Tue, Aug 07, 2007 - Page 20 News List

F1: Tensions remain high at McLaren

AP, BUDAPEST

McLaren had a weekend full of contradictions at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton won Sunday's race ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, but only after the governing body of world motor sports punished his team by -- ironically -- putting Hamilton in pole position.

"It was a very emotional race and an eventful weekend," Hamilton said. "I just tried to keep a smile on my face and try to remain positive for everyone."

"Without the penalty ... victory would have been possible today as you can see on my lap times when I had a clear track," Alonso said. "The fight for the championship is still open."

The British team admitted on Sunday that "tensions were undeniably high" during the qualifying session but said it did not believe the sanctions were "appropriate."

McLaren said it intended to appeal against a points ban it was handed by the FIA, and has 48 hours after the race to present its case to the FIA's court of appeal. It cannot appeal Alonso's relegation.

With six races remaining, McLaren will have its hands full managing the two best drivers so far of this season.

"The process of managing two such exceptional talents as Fernando and Lewis is made more challenging by having a race-winning car," the team said.

The strains in that task have become clear.

Asked after the race about his relationship with Alonso, Hamilton said he continued to have respect for the Spaniard.

"He doesn't seem to have been speaking to me since yesterday, so I don't know if he has a problem," Hamilton said, adding he felt a "big cloud" over him during the race.

"It was difficult to stay focused because you had the feeling in the team that [McLaren] won't get any points and you didn't know whether the team hated you, [or] they just hated the situation," he said.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis acknowledged the difficult situation.

"It was a weekend full of stress and emotion. The issues that faced us ... tested the resolve of the whole team," Dennis said. "Both drivers did great jobs in difficult circumstances."

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