British media slam McLaren's tactics

Despite McLaren boss Ron Dennis' insistence that he did the right thing in telling his drivers to hold station in the Monaco Grand Prix, the move drew widespread criticism in the British press on Monday morning

British media slam McLaren's tactics

With world champion Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in a class of their own around the streets of Monte Carlo, Dennis was determined to make sure the pair did not crash in a battle for the lead.

But with the media having been as keen as Hamilton for him to take his maiden victory last weekend, there was clear anger in their reaction to the events that marred the race.

Byron Young in the Daily Mirror wrote: "Lewis Hamilton gave his all yesterday for a race he was not allowed to win.

"The 22-year-old's Monte Carlo dream was sabotaged by the man who has done more than any other, apart from father Anthony, to turn him into a Grand Prix sensation. And yesterday that man - McLaren boss Ron Dennis - was unrepentant."

He added: "The only thing as big as McLaren's advantage here at this wonderful annual spectacle of speed and outrageous wealth is the size of the team's misjudgment in preventing two born racers from duking it out.

"They lost more - and the sport lost more - than they ever would have done had both cars been buried in the barriers in a tantalising battle for victory ... we wanted a beautiful street mugging by Hamilton, instead he was the one who was robbed.

"And, more importantly, so were the sport and its fans. Robbed of honour and pride and honesty and fair play."

Kevin Garside in The Daily Telegraph said: "Rarely can a one-two finish have met with longer faces. The bitter taste of disappointment pinched the normally sunny features of Lewis Hamilton and cast a shadow across an otherwise triumphant day for McLaren, who scored their 150th Formula One win at the Monaco Grand Prix yesterday.

"A team predicated on giving their drivers an equal crack at victory succumbed to an uncomfortable reality in Formula One. Sometimes purpose is not served by drivers going at each other as the finer principles of sport demand they should.

"On this occasion Hamilton was the victim, his push for glory and the racing instincts that fuelled it badly neutered by instructions from above.

"Team orders are banned in Formula One. A generous interpretation of events in the principality might accept McLaren's justification for putting the brakes on their drivers.

"Another view might see the enforced denial of a car chase around the streets of Monte Carlo as sacrilege."

John McEvoy in The Daily Mail wrote: "Hamilton - and 130,000 spectators crammed around the harbour for motor racing's showpiece event - were denied a proper race from the moment Hamilton emerged from his first pitstop to be informed of boss Ron Dennis's instruction over the in-car radio."

While Ed Gorman of The Times said: "Lewis Hamilton drove a fast and almost error-free race on the streets of Monte Carlo yesterday to finish second in the Monaco Grand Prix behind Fernando Alonso, his McLaren Mercedes teammate, but emerged disappointed and frustrated.

"It was not his performance that irritated him but that of his team, who sent him out on a track on which it is almost impossible to overtake with a race strategy that gave him only the slimmest chances of winning.

"What is more, any chance he had was taken away from him, mid-race, by a decision that prevented him from catching Alonso. Hamilton had planned to drive up to six laps longer on his first stint than the Spaniard - in which time he hoped to fly around this narrow and restrictive circuit - but he was called in after only three."

The criticisms of McLaren in the British media come against the backdrop of a confrontation between the Daily Express' Bob McKenzie and Dennis in a press conference at Monaco last week.

With McLaren having got increasingly restrictive on media access to Hamilton, McKenzie was angry that he had not been allowed to speak to the British driver after his crash in practice on Thursday.

Dennis insisted, however, that his team were trying hard to deal with the media demands.

"Whatever surrounds Lewis is by Lewis's choice and fully supported by myself and we are trying desperately to manage the media.

"I fully appreciate, fully appreciate the level of interest there is in Lewis in England and how disproportionate it is to the rest of the world, but the reality is that we are inundated, inundated beyond... you just can't believe the various organisations that are looking for exclusivity, etc. etc.

"We're not against the media and we are not trying to protect him from the media."

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