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Alonso teams up with Hamilton critics.

Byline: By Nick Briggs

Fernando alonso agreed with Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel's assertion that McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton was guilty of dangerous driving at the Japanese Grand Prix. The 22-year-old is being investigated by stewards for his part in a crash between Webber and Vettel behind the safety car on lap 45 of Sunday's 67-lap race, which ended both drivers' afternoons.

Leading at the time, Hamilton has been fiercely criticised by Webber, who was second, in the build-up to this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix for constantly braking and accelerating in the final section of the Fuji Speedway.

If found guilty of causing the collision, he could face losing the 10 points he earned for his fourth victory of the season. However, it is more likely Hamilton will suffer a 10-place grid penalty for the penultimate race at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Alonso followed his team-mate for the first 19 laps as the race began behind the safety car due to appalling conditions at the Fuji Speedway and believes he could have handled the situation differently.

"I also overtook Lewis two or three times, so it seems that we all agree," he said.

"I didn't see the race on TV but, hearing the comments of the drivers, they seemed to overtake the car in front a couple of times and had to make some unnecessary manoeuvres to avoid the cars in front."

Alonso had insisted after his retirement in Japan that he needed a "miracle" to bridge the 12-point gap to Hamilton and capture his third consecutive drivers' crown.

And if his team-mate is penalised, it could be the intervention the Spaniard was hoping for.

"I believe in miracles for sure," he added. "I think anything can happen - this is Formula One. Until mathematically you have no chance in the championship, you don't give up."

Alonso's future at McLaren has been under severe scrutiny since it was revealed he threatened to expose incriminating evidence regarding the Ferrari spying row after an argument with boss Ron Dennis at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

His relationship with team-mate Hamilton has also deteriorated but, despite being offered a way out of the Woking-based team by Renault chief Flavio Briatore, the 26-year-old insisted all thoughts of next season have been put on hold.

"It's not the time to speak about next year," he said. "I will try to win these two races and when the championship finishes, we will see."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 5, 2007
Words:405
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