Briatore: Hamilton no team player in '07

Renault team boss Flavio Briatore says Lewis Hamilton should have been more of a team player last season, and he reckons the Briton's fight with teammate Fernando Alonso cost McLaren the drivers' title

Briatore: Hamilton no team player in '07

Hamilton made a sensational debut with the British squad last season, winning four races and going on to finish in second place in the standings behind Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton looked like the favourite to land the title, having a 17-point lead over Raikkonen with just two races remaining.

However, the Finn charged back and beat the Briton and Alonso by just one point.

Two-time champion Alonso was critical of the team throughout the season as he felt he deserved preferential treatment over his rookie teammate.

Briatore believes the intra-team battle cost McLaren the crown, and he says Hamilton should have thought more about the team.

"Hamilton is very young and the talent is there but he lost this opportunity," Briatore was quoted as saying by The Guardian newspaper. "As a rookie, in the first year, you should work for the team.

"Your team consists of 1,000 people working together to put two cars on the grid. You need to respect these people behind you - and not only your ego.

"This is something the driver needs to learn. It's not just about him. You hear drivers saying 'my car'. But it is not their car - it is the team car. A lot of people are watching you fight while they're working until five in the morning to deliver this car.

"I feel sorry for the employees of McLaren - it was terrible. It was important for McLaren to win the drivers' championship but they missed the opportunity. Because of this fight they finished with nothing."

Briatore also reckons Hamilton was favoured by his team over Alonso, who has returned to Renault after his short stint at McLaren.

"Yeah. [Hamilton] was born in this team. He has been driving 10 years with McLaren so that is normal," the Italian added.

"But what is less normal is when you see Hamilton in pole position and everyone at McLaren is jumping like crazy. If pole was for Fernando then everyone was like this [Briatore feigns polite applause].

"This is difficult for the driver because every time you give 100% effort for the team - and you can only presume that everybody has the same treatment. When you take the world champion, which Fernando was, and challenge him with a rookie it's not the best way."

The Italian team boss admitted, if he had to choose, he would always pick Alonso over Hamilton.

"Lewis is terrific for McLaren and for Formula One but I would always choose Fernando. He is more experienced. But it's more important, and this is already happening, that Fernando has fun and enjoys his racing again."

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