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Motor Racing

Alonso widens Dennis rift

As if the outcome of the Chinese Grand Prix was not bad enough for his protégé Lewis Hamilton, McLaren chief Ron Dennis had to handle further carping from disaffected world champion Fernando Alonso over the weekend, and faces the prospect of more aggravation as the two drivers head for their showdown in Brazil in two weeks' time.

Alonso claimed it was highly unusual to be six-tenths of a second off the qualifying pace in China. He spoke darkly of somebody tampering with his tyre pressures, at which one team engineer exploded: "Perhaps if he had worked with us choosing them, instead of telling us to get on with selecting them, he would have felt happier."

Alonso added: "I was expecting a lot more from McLaren. From the outside the team has a different image – serious and very professional. I arrived here having won two titles and improved the car as much as I could. The treatment has not been very good."

In response to Dennis' comments at the weekend that he was disappointed he had not corrected reports that claimed the team was biased towards Hamilton, Alonso replied: "It's better to be quiet than to lie. That's something I think he should do more often. Many of the scandals McLaren has been involved in off the track this year have been created by his approach."

Dennis will wash his hands of his fractious charge next season, one way or the other, and focus on rebuilding the inter-team harmony around Hamilton and, most likely, Nico Rosberg, despite Frank Williams' assertions that selling Rosberg would be like selling his team.