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Alonso praises Hamilton

2008-10-20 09:39

Fernando Alonso concedes that if his nemesis Lewis Hamilton wins the 2008 title, he will be a worthy world champion.

The bitterness between the pair was obvious last weekend in China, when after Alonso admitted he was willing to help Felipe Massa race to the crown, Hamilton bit back at the Spaniard as a champion who "got beaten by a rookie" in 2007.

But amid the acrimony, 27-year-old Alonso insists he will not campaign to diminish Hamilton's achievement, should the Briton secure the title with a fifth place or better at Interlagos in two weeks.

"The championship is always won by the best driver, so if Hamilton wins in the end it will be because he has collected more points than anyone else," he is quoted as saying by the El Pais newspaper.

Alonso also praised Hamilton's dominant display in Shanghai.

"He was fastest in the practices, got the pole and won the race.  It is unquestionable that he deserves it," he said.

If Alonso has one gripe about the outcome of the Chinese grand prix, it is that Brazil will now not host a true showdown between the title protagonists, given Hamilton's relatively easy task.

"It is not good for the excitement of the championship, but honestly whoever wins doesn't concern me too much."

He does, however, admit to staying true to his word of helping Massa, by declining to "get into a fight with Felipe" at the start of Sunday's 56-lap race.

"That is when Kovalainen took the opportunity to pass me," Alonso explained.

Meanwhile, another Spaniard, Ferrari test driver Marc Gene, believes Massa would be the more deserving 2008 champion.

"He has suffered mechanical problems," he wrote in his column for El Mundo, "while Hamilton has not.  "However, the British driver would also deserve it."

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