Alonso to help Massa
Spaniard, who fell out with Hamilton, wants Ferrari driver to win
LONDON: Lewis Hamilton's hopes of winning the Formula One drivers' title have come under further threat, after Renault's Fernando Alonso vowed to do what he can to help Felipe Massa lift it.
The Spaniard, whose antagonism towards Hamilton is well known, was asked if he would help the Ferrari driver in the final two races at the expense of his former McLaren teammate.
His answer: 'Yes, without doubt. If I can help, I will help Massa.'
The Briton holds a five-point lead over Massa, no thanks to a series of reckless moves at last Sunday's Japanese GP.
Hamilton, who had lost the lead at the start, was handed a drive-through penalty after a desperate overtaking move on Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.
Asked whether Hamilton was right to be punished, Alonso said: 'I agree. I don't know what he did. But it's good he's punished anyway.'
The animosity between Alonso and Hamilton developed last year after the Spaniard, who had arrived at McLaren after winning back-to-back world titles with Renault, demanded the team recognise him as their No 1 driver.
The fallout saw Alonso quit after just one season with McLaren.
Still, he is not the only one to be less than impressed by the 23-year-old Hamilton. After last month's Italian GP, Toyota's Timo Glock and Mark Webber of Red Bull were also critical of Hamilton's over-aggressive overtaking moves.
Said Glock, who was pushed off the track at one point by Hamilton: 'Sometimes, he drives as though he is completely alone on the track. Next time, I will behave with him in exactly the same way.'
Even before the Japanese GP, BMW-Sauber's Robert Kubica, who was supposed to be one of Hamilton's close friends, branded him a track bully.
'My heart hopes Felipe will win the title. I would prefer him to Lewis,' Kubica said. 'There are two different ways you can drive. You can be aggressive but stay fair. Or you can be too aggressive and too self-confident.'
Even some British journalists are wondering if Hamilton is too reckless by nature, pointing to the collision between him and Massa on Lap Two on Sunday.
Hamilton said Massa hit him on purpose, but the Ferrari driver said the McLaren star pushed him onto the gravel. The question some are asking is: Why did Hamilton tangle with Massa?
The Briton knew that he had to pit almost immediately after wearing out his front tyres following his move on Raikkonen at the start.
The Times' F1 correspondent Edward Gorman wrote: 'Lewis might have been thinking 'what the hell, let's take Felipe on. My race is almost run, maybe he'll do something stupid'. His strategy was at least partially successful.'
Massa was slapped with a drive-through penalty, but the collision left Hamilton in 18th spot and, eventually, out of the points.
The race was eventually won by Singapore GP winner Alonso, who has now scored more points (35) than any other driver in the six races since the German Grand Prix in July. Hamilton has taken 26 and Massa 25 in the same period.
But Massa is the most in-form driver going into Sunday's Chinese GP. If Hamilton wins and Massa ends no higher than fifth, the title will go to the Briton.
But a win for Massa and podium finishes by Raikkonen and Alonso will wipe out Hamilton's five-point lead. Then it will come down to the final race on Nov2 - the Brazilian GP, which is Massa's on home ground.