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DATE News (chronologically)
09/16/07
f1
Hamilton tones down Alonso criticism
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton on Sunday toned down his criticism of Fernando Alonso's first-corner tactics at the Belgian grand prix.

After getting pushed wide by his championship rival and McLaren teammate at La Source, the rookie Briton was quoted as saying by the German source Die Welt: "He pushed me wide. That had nothing to do with fairness."

He was quoted as saying by RTL: "I tried to out-brake Fernando but he pushed me off the circuit."

Hamilton finished fourth to Alonso's third at Spa-Francorchamps, reducing his lead of the drivers' title to just two points with three races to go in 2007.

In a post-race official statement, the 22-year-old had apparently reflected on his initial reaction to Alonso's driving.

"Initially I thought 'oh thanks' but I guess these things happen when you fight for the world championship," Woking based McLaren quoted him as saying.

Alonso denied that he had taken a new approach to his duel with Hamilton because McLaren has been kicked out of the constructors' championship. Ferrari mathematically clinched that title on Sunday.

"No, same approach," the reigning world champion said, also denying that the pair touched.

Alonso explained: "I was sticking to the inside line as long as possible as I knew there was plenty of run-off area. I knew that my car in the first stint would be a bit faster as I was stopping one lap earlier than Lewis, so it was very important to be in front."

Ferrari's Felipe Massa, meanwhile, fell to a total of 7 points behind his teammate Kimi Raikkonen at Spa, moving some to conclude that the Brazilian will definitely be appointed 'number two' for the final three races.

Massa denied, however, that his job from now on will be to support Raikkonen's title quest.

"I think I will be free to win," he said.

Alonso pointed out just how finely poised the championship battle still is.

"If we have a DNF if any of the three races, you say bye-bye to the title," he said.
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