Hamilton and Alonso bury the hatchet

Click to follow
The Independent Online

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 said. "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."

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. Stewards at the race were also criticised for taking 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 ninth though he was later promoted to eighth after others drivers 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 this weekend's race at Silverstone.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said he had no issue with what Alonso had said in the heat of the moment. "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," Whitmarsh said. "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."

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 criticise the FIA over anything, there have to be some limits and we have to be respectful to the FIA," said Whitmarsh. "But I think it's acceptable for people to display their passion and enthusiasm and aggrievement from time to time in the sport."