Hamilton dismisses perceived rivalry with teammate Alonso

LONDON -- McLaren rookie Lewis Hamilton and two-time world champion teammate Fernando Alonso have agreed not to talk about each other in the future unless both are present.

Asked about reports that he had been muzzled by McLaren, and eager to quash reports of increasing tension between their drivers after Hamilton's sensational debut, the 22-year-old Formula One championship leader said on Thursday that he and the
Spaniard had reached an understanding.

"We get on really well," said Hamilton when asked to put the record straight at a news conference organized by sponsor Vodafone.

"Obviously him being Spanish, the media in Spain are trying to twist things and I think its the same with the British media," he said.

"We are very, very supportive of each other. Obviously we are very competitive, we both want to win but we have a great deal of respect for each other," he added. "We've never had a fallout.

"Even after I won at the weekend, he came up afterwards and said congratulations.

"It's just at the moment we feel it's better if we speak about each other when we are both there because he can read something in the papers that someone might have twisted that I have said," added Hamilton.

"I'd never make a negative comment about him because I've got a lot of respect for him and there's no need."

McLaren boss Ron Dennis told reporters at Indianapolis last weekend that measures had been taken to limit possible distractions for the drivers.

Hamilton, returning to Britain as the country's youngest grand prix winner as well as championship leader, has triggered a surge of media interest with much of it focused on his relationship with Alonso.

The Spaniard has been clearly unsettled by the internal euphoria over Hamilton's success, saying this month that he was not completely comfortable at McLaren and suggesting that Hamilton was being favored.

"I try not to read too much into the papers. It's great to see there's a lot of good pictures in there and I just check if I'm looking good," said Hamilton.

"But in general I try not to focus too much on it. I've obviously seen how many newspapers I've been in and its a lot more than I ever expected.

"The more I come back, the more I get out my car at the [gas] station and walk down the street, the more people are coming up to me," he said of the response to his meteoric rise to the top.