Hamilton plays down Alonso effect

Fri, 18 January 2008, 03:40

Lewis Hamilton has played down the impact that his former McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso will have at Renault in 2008.

After the double world champion’s spectacular falling out with Hamilton and McLaren team boss Ron Dennis last year, Spaniard Alonso has returned to the scene of his title triumphs of 2005 and 2006.

But after Alonso, 26, topped the times on the only fully dry day of running at Jerez last week, Hamilton doubts that his former teammate has already dramatically improved the form of the French squad.

“Renault is a strong team that can improve on its own, especially if the two drivers work and cooperate together,” the 23-year-old, Hamilton, is quoted as saying by the Spanish newspaper Diario AS.

Hamilton also played down suggestions that McLaren will struggle to develop its own car this year in the absence of Alonso.

“It will be the same as last year,” he insisted. “Heikki and I have the responsibility to develop the car, and it will not be a problem for us.”

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