Hamilton aims to silence Ferrari threat on home turf

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The Independent Online

Lewis Hamilton would like nothing better than to win the Italian Grand Prix here this weekend, not just to enhance his lead in Whe world Championship but also to rub salt into Ferrari's wounds as the acrimonious war between the famed Italian Scuderia and his McLaren team plumbed new depths yesterday.

That was when the FIA revealed that the British team must face more questioning by the World Motor Sport Council in the light of further evidence presented to them.

"I have kept away from the distractions," Hamilton said yesterday. "I have been completely oblivious to them this past week. It hit me when I got here and found out, and I am just going to try to get on with my job. That means beating Ferrari on their home ground. That is the target of the whole team, because that would be a huge blow to Ferrari.

"I don't like what they are putting our team through. Ferrari are portrayed as the most innocent team and I don't think that is the case. I think our team have been unfairly treated. And I think we are stronger."

Everybody sought somebody to point the finger at after the FIA cancelled the International Court of Appeal hearing scheduled for 13 September. Now McLaren again have to face a WMSC that has made it very clear that Draconian penalties could be applied if there is compelling evidence that they either used stolen Ferrari information or else applied techniques from it at their Woking headquarters or at the circuits. Ferrari, it was claimed, had nothing to do with it.

In some quarters, amazingly, the finger fell on Fernando Alonso and McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa. The former has made no secret all year that he is unhappy at McLaren, or his belief that championship leader Hamilton is the favoured son. The latter was close to disgraced McLaren engineer Mike Coughlan. Yesterday there were allegations that the new evidence had come from sources keen to sign Alonso for 2008 (when he is still contracted to McLaren), following conversations between the two Spaniards and then between Alonso and the parties interested in him. McLaren's reaction was muted. A statement simply said: "McLaren will continue to co-operate fully with the FIA."

Hamilton remained upbeat and added: "I felt that our test here last week was very good, although it's always exaggerated when you take downforce off the car because it feels quicker.

"I really felt that we had taken a big step forward, as big as the one we took prior to Monaco. Though to be fair, Fernando disagreed and felt it was smaller. But I feel really confident."

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