F1 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Hamilton, Alonso feuding after qualifying controversy at Hungary

Aug 5, 2007 - 6:09 PM By Ian Parkes Special to PA SportsTicker

BUDAPEST, Hungary (Ticker) -- Rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton swept to victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday - then claimed McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso is not speaking to him.

The 22-year-old Brit was impeded by two-time reigning world champion Alonso during Saturday's qualifying and what was, at best, an uneasy relationship is now a feud - at least on the Spaniard's part.

Hamilton, who finished ahead of the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and Nick Heidfeld in his BMW Sauber, insists he does not hold a grudge against Alonso.

"My respect for Fernando remains the same," Hamilton said. "When you grow up and see someone who is as successful as you want to be, be it Fernando or Michael Schumacher, you have to respect them for what they have achieved, and I do.

"I have watched him for the last few years and admired what he has done, and that hasn't changed. But since yesterday, he doesn't seem to be speaking to me, so I don't know if he has a problem. I hope he still speaks to me. I'm easy to get on with. I don't hold grudges with anyone."

Hamilton admitted he made a mistake in qualifying - and has since apologized to Alonso.

He should have let Alonso by at the start of the final 15-minute qualifying session, but, believing it would compromise his own position, opted against it in spite of repeated radio calls to do so by the McLaren team.

In the closing stages of qualifying, Alonso was put on hold in the pits for 20 seconds by the team after taking on fresh tires. With Hamilton queueing behind him, Alonso waited a further 10 seconds before exiting, a move that left Hamilton with insufficient time for a hot lap.

Hamilton and McLaren team boss Dennis argued on the radio as Alonso went on to clinch pole.

Race stewards subsequently imposed a five-place grid penalty on Alonso and refused to allow the team to take any points in the constructors' championship.

"They (the team) just asked me why I didn't do what they wanted me to, and so I told them," Hamilton said. "I said 'I made a mistake, I apologize. It won't happen again. But it has happened, let's forget about it and move on. We're both on the front row, so we can still smile.'

"I thought because of the argument I had with Ron over the radio - and he was obviously angry - that he was perhaps teaching me a lesson, so I just took it on the chin. That's why when I came to the press conference (on Saturday) I said I thought Fernando wouldn't do something like that. But I have reasons to believe otherwise."

Hamilton said his relationship with Dennis has been repaired, and is looking for the team to build bridges.

"Ron wasn't very happy yesterday, but we have to be professional, so we sat down and we spoke about it," Hamilton said. "I told him my views, and he respected those, so we came to a mutual understanding and started with a clean slate from today.

"We need to analyze the weekend, and we need to sit down and talk as a team and reunite. I have no worries about it."

Alonso, starting from sixth on the grid, finished fourth.

Hamilton's third victory of his debut season puts him seven points ahead of his teammate, with Raikkonen 20 adrift and Ferrari's Felipe Massa a further point down after failing to score.

Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber), Ralf Schumacher (Toyota), Nico Rosberg (Williams) and Heikki Kovalainen (Renault) completed the top eight.

In the constructors' championship, with McLaren denied its 15 points - an appeal is pending - Ferrari has cut the gap to 19 points.

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