Alonso plays up Mercedes feud

The air may have been cleared, but ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix it is certain an uneasy truce exists between Mercedes rivals Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Rosberg may have apologised for his act of indiscretion last time out in Belgium when he chose to deliberately avoid pulling out of crashing into Hamilton, so turning up the wick on their season-long feud.

But as Hamilton conceded, following what motorsport boss Toto Wolff described as a “professional meeting” in Brackley on Friday, it was just the latest in a long line of improprieties perpetrated by both men over the course of the campaign.

As to who has been the more sinned against than sinned, only the two of them know, but it now remains to be seen whether they can keep it clean between themselves over the final seven races.

Fernando Alonso, for one, does not think so as the two-times champion knows all too well from his own title duel with Hamilton in 2007 when the two of them were team-mates at McLaren.

It was a tough year for both men as the season was overshadowed by the ’spygate’ saga for which McLaren were then fined a sporting record sum of nearly £50million.

Ultimately, such was the in-fighting between them they both missed out on the championship by a solitary point to Kimi Raikkonen, then in his first spell with Ferrari.

Reflecting on a title fight between two drivers from the same team, Alonso said: “We (drivers) are very competitive people, we want to win.

“When, in the same team, there are two possibilities of winning, it’s not easy.”

Suggested to Alonso the Mercedes garage is currently divided, the Spaniard replied: “Definitely.

“It’s not only the drivers, it’s the mechanics, the engineers, some people who are that little bit more friendly with one driver than the other.

“The driver’s mind as well, it changes when you are in a competition against other teams or against your team-mate.

“Even if you don’t want to think, your mind is always trying to see if there is something weird going on that weekend, or something that could go in favour of the other driver.”

Assessing what occurred in Spa, however, Ferrari star Alonso insisted it was “a racing incident”.

Speaking to SkySports, Alonso added: “From the cockpit it’s impossible Nico can be so precise with his front wing to cut a rear tyre.

“He would have to be a surgeon in a hospital to have that precision and we are not so precise.

“In this incident it went against Hamilton with a puncture, but it could have been the other way around.

“Maybe Hamilton’s tyre resisted the impact and Nico would have had to change his front wing or damaged the front suspension and his race was over.

“It was a very fine line between the two.”

With a 29-point deficit to Rosberg after failing to finish in Spa, whereas the German went on to claim second, Hamilton at least heads to Monza with a positive mindset.

“My aim for the weekend is to claw back the gap in the drivers’ championship,” said Hamilton.

“It’s as big as it’s been all season so I’ve a lot of work ahead of me, but anything can happen in this sport.

“I won’t give up until the flag drops in Abu Dhabi, and there are still plenty of points to be won before then, so it’s far from over yet.”

Rosberg, handed a six-figure fine by the team as they were unable to impose any sporting sanction, knows he has the upper hand.

The quirk of the double-points system for the final grand prix in Abu Dhabi in November does add an element of the unknown into the mix, something Rosberg is all too wary of.

“It’s still all to play for in the championship, and with the double-points race in Abu Dhabi anything can still happen,” said Rosberg.

“I’m focused on taking the maximum points possible in the remaining seven races and I know the team is too, starting with a top result this weekend.”

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