Press sceptical about Brazil ‘love in’

Fri, 19 October 2007, 01:05

F1’s press corps reacted sceptically in Sao Paulo when Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso insisted that their bitter relationship is now over.

In fact, the McLaren duo – who have spent the bulk of their 2007 rivalry accusing one another of disloyalty and splitting into impenetrable corners of the garage – denied that they had ever exchanged a cross stare.

“I think we have got on quite well all year, despite what the media says,” 22-year-old Hamilton told reporters at Interlagos.

“They always try to make a big gap between us and they haven’t really succeeded. We just get on quite well.”

Spaniard Alonso, sitting alongside Hamilton in the official press conference adjacent to the media centre, agreed that their relationship has always been sound while the press wrote “many things that weren’t true”.

“We never had problems with each other. We are obviously fighting on the track but off the track we have had a very good relationship from day one and it’s still the same,” he added.

Journalists who have shared the same paddocks with the pair all season reacted cynically to the front; The Guardian remarking that “not many would take these expressions of fraternal respect for anything other than window dressing”.

The Scotsman newspaper described the FIA press conference, during which photographers captured the pair exchanging numerous smiles and laughs, as an “old pals’ act”.

They “put on an unsettling display of solidarity and sociability”, British journalist Ian Parkes wrote.

The Telegraph called it a “bizarre Brazilian love-in”, while the Times dismissed Alonso and Hamilton as “smiling assassins” whose display of unity was “barely credible”.

On Spanish radio a bit later, Alonso at least returned to a more believable round of psychological warfare on the eve of his battle for the 2007 crown.

“The pressure is more on Hamilton than on me. He will definitely have a few ghosts in his head when he thinks back to his wonderful opportunity of China,” the 26-year-old said.

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