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McLaren: Ferrari still in title contention

Lewis Hamilton races Felipe Massa at the start of the Italian Grand PrixMcLaren are adamant that Ferrari remain a major on-track threat to their world championship ambitions this year, despite their dominant 1-2 finish in the Italian Grand Prix.

Although the outcome of the title fight could well hang on whether or not McLaren are punished in this week's FIA hearing into Formula One's spy saga, the Woking-based team say they are not even relaxed about their speed advantage.

McLaren F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh said: "At Monza we were undoubtedly strong, but we're realistic. It is an unusual track and nobody here is getting carried away.

"We made a big effort to win this race - look at all the parts on the car - and the people deserve that win. Spa's a different kind of circuit, and only a proportion of the parts will carry over to Spa.

"We've got to make sure we're pushing hard. We feel we should have a competitive car. The balance of power swings between us each weekend.

"Nobody's going to run away with this championship. We've been saying that since the outset, and it's very easy amid all the euphoria of what seems like a fairly dominant performance to believe that.

"Many of us have been fighting for championships for several years and we know Ferrari are formidable competitors. Hopefully we've got even harder ones in Lewis and Fernando."

Team boss Ron Dennis said he had no qualms about coping with a title fight between his drivers and his only worry was Ferrari's continued threat.

"I'm really not at all concerned about rivalry between drivers. In Hungary and Turkey we've been in a difficult place and we've emerged from it now.

"The drivers have a very respectful and positive working relationship and they're concentrating on trying to beat the competition which is not just each other, it's the rest of the field.

"This is not a world championship that is in any way over. And Ferrari will prove to be a very worthy competitor over the course of the year. We hope to have every opportunity to fight them for the rest of the season."

Whitmarsh thinks the title fight will go down to the final race of the season in Brazil.

"It's a fantastic championship and I think it will go down to the wire," he said.

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