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McLaren drivers meet to clear air
August 23, 2007 20:43 IST
Hamilton, the 22-year-old British rookie who leads double world champion Alonso by seven points with six races remaining, won in Budapest on Aug. 5 after Alonso was stripped of pole position for impeding him in qualifying.
Stewards also barred leaders McLaren from scoring constructors' points in that race, costing them 15 and triggering an appeal. McLaren lead Ferrari [Images] by 19 points.
The two McLaren drivers were not on speaking terms when they left Budapest and had not met since Hungary, although a team spokeswoman said they talked on the telephone over the holiday break.
With Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix billed as a resumption of hostilities, McLaren management scheduled a meeting with the drivers in downtown Istanbul to discuss the situation within the team.
The drivers' usual Thursday activities at the circuit were cancelled, with McLaren saying it made no sense for them to battle through the dense Istanbul traffic to the track after morning promotional activities elsewhere.
Alonso attended a karting event for team title sponsor Vodafone but questions to the Spaniard were restricted.
Hamilton, who could become the first rookie to take the title since the championship began in 1950, issued a statement in the week after Hungary to try to limit the damage from that controversial weekend.
"Fernando and I are fiercely competitive and respectful of each other," he said. "We are both ambitious drivers who want to win. However we are not drivers at war, as has been widely reported."
McLaren also issued a statement after Budapest to correct reports that Hamilton had also used "the F word" in a row with team boss Ron Dennis over the car radio during the Saturday qualifying session.
The internal discord came with the team already mired in a spying controversy, with a significant quantity of Ferrari technical information found at the home of McLaren's now-suspended chief designer.
Formula One: The Complete Coverage