One year on, Hamilton finds team harmony
|By Jonathan Noble and Biranit Goren||Thursday, July 31st 2008, 13:58 GMT|
A year after McLaren endured one of their most difficult weekends, at the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton is relishing the harmony within the Woking-based outfit - but vows not to become complacent.
The relationship breakdown between then-McLaren driver Fernando Alonso and his team crossed a line in Budapest 12 months ago, when Alonso threatened team boss Ron Dennis to provide the FIA with material against McLaren in the spying affair.
This followed the remarkable events of qualifying at the Hungaroring, where Alonso deliberately held off Hamilton in the pits - and was subsequently demoted five places on the grid.
Alonso left McLaren at the end of the year, the two sides agreeing to end their agreement prematurely.
And now, a year on and in the same venue, Hamilton said the atmosphere inside McLaren couldn't be better.
"We are just having a much smoother year and it is a lot more relaxed," he said. "There is a nice environment here, and things are how they should be.
"We are here to race and we are focusing on that. We have got no distractions, so it is a much better position to be in. It is one every team want to be in. We are here to race, and that is important."
And, perhaps taking a dig at his former teammate, the Briton added: "We don't have any excess baggage on our team, and no stress like that. We have the excitement of working hard to improve the car and to score points. That is where everyone wants to be."
But Hamilton emphasized he is not getting too relaxed, as he expects his main rivals to bounce back this weekend.
"For sure Ferrari still have a fantastic car and two very quick drivers," he stated. "I have no doubts that they will be fighting very, very hard with us at the front this weekend.
"Every time you come to a race you are looking out for them and all your rivals - the BMWs, the Renaults are quick and the Red Bulls too. You have to focus on your job but bear in mind that they will be very quick and hunt you down."