''We never had problems with each other'' - AlonsoFernando Alonso
and Lewis Hamilton tried to cover up the cracks of their stormy relationship here Thursday, claiming ahead of Sunday's title decider in Brazil that instead of being warring team-mates they were in fact best
Alonso, the defending world champion, is locked in a showdown scrap for the driver's title with his McLaren team-mate Hamilton and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen
. And the McLaren duo amazed crowds of seasoned reporters at a press conference by joking together and insisting that their relationship was fine, despite a flow of reports over several months in which it was made clear they were barely on speaking terms.
Alonso and Hamilton both suggested that the idea that they were not friends was merely an invention created by the media.
"They have been saying many, many things about us but they were not true," Alonso said at the press conference at the Interlagos circuit. "We never had problems with each other, we are fighting on track but outside the track we had very good relationship from day one."
Hamilton, who has been quoted saying he believed the team wanted to show real loyalty to him in the title race because of Alonso's perceived involvement in the 'spy story' controversy, also backed Alonso's stance.
"I think it is as good as ever," he said when asked about their relationship.
"I think we have got on quite well this year despite what the media have said. They have always tried to put a big gap between us but they have not succeeded, we continue to do our job."
Alonso added that it was inevitable that his relationship with Hamilton would become less relaxed during the course of a GP weekend.
"I think when you see us together it is only on Saturday afternoon at the 'meet the team' press conference - and there it is just after qualifying so we are focused on the race, strategy and result of qualifying so it is maybe not a very relaxed moment," he said.
He suggested also that the media had read too much into McLaren boss Ron Dennis's recent comment 'we were racing Fernando' when referring to Hamilton's strategy at the Chinese Grand Prix.
"I was surprised, but I think it is difficult to see what is true, what is just normal words that you say after the race and if you take in a different way you can make some problems," Alonso said. "I don't see anything strange, I was surprised but not really worried."
Hamilton had criticised Alonso's driving at the Belgian GP after the two McLarens touched at the first corner, but he said he was confident that the title would not be decided by an incident between them.
"I think we are professional racing drivers, you look out for yourself, but we don't want to crash with any of the drivers," he said. "Neither of us wants to crash, we just want to finish the race. Entering the first corner you go in there with a clean mind about leading or gaining a place, but without taking too many risks. From our experience we know what is too much or too little, I don't think we have any problems."
Alonso also took issue with the decision by the FIA, to appoint a special 'fairness and equality' observer in the McLaren team garage. The FIA announced last week it would appoint an official to ensure that McLaren gave fair and equal treatment to Hamilton, who leads the title race by four points, and Alonso after the Spanish motorsport federation had expressed concerns about alleged favouritism.
Alonso hit out after he qualified only fourth on the grid at the Chinese Grand Prix, six-tenths of a second slower than Hamilton.
Speaking at a press conference at the Interlagos circuit ahead of this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix, Alonso said: "I don't agree with that decision, but it is not up to us.
"I think if they decide to do that it is okay, but I think we don't need anything like that in the garage. In China, I think I was disappointed with my qualifying performance and I felt (it was a) very strange result after Q1 and Q2, after being close to fighting for pole for Q3. But I realised tyre pressures were too high and this can happen in qualifying. It was coincidence and a bit of bad luck."