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Hamilton, McLaren have contrasting Hungarian GP

It was a Hungarian Grand Prix that brought vindication for Lewis Hamilton and headaches for his McLaren team.

Hamilton rebounded from an increasingly tense relationship with teammate and world champion Fernando Alonso and his boss Ron Dennis to earn his third victory of the Formula One season.

McLaren saw its drivers go 1-2 in qualifying times and 1-4 in the race, and come away with zero points and the subject of scrutiny by the sports governing body on how it runs its team.

And the continuing feud with Ferrari increased with still another back-and forth series of accusations.

Saturday's qualifying session saw Alonso record the fastest time and Hamilton behind him, first on the pit lane waiting for a chance to go onto the track while Alonso waited ... and waited ... and waited. The holdup meant Hamilton missed a chance beat Alonso's fastest lap.

That was enough to cause the stewards to investigate and determine that McLaren and Alonso hindered Hamilton's chance for pole.

The stewards ruled that McLaren had delayed Hamilton on the final pit stop in qualifying. Alonso was timed at being stationary more than 30 seconds after his tires were changed before heading out, while Hamilton waited behind him in the pits.

Alonso was subsequently penalized five spots on the starting grid to sixth, while Hamilton was given the pole.

McLaren was told it would lose any points it gained from the race, although the drivers, with Hamilton winning for 10 points and Alonso fourth for five, kept theirs for the drivers standings. Hamilton extended his lead over Alonso in the standings to seven points, 80-73.

So despite Hamilton's win, McLaren's total on the team standings stayed at 139 with Ferrari gaining after Kimi Raikkonen finished second.

Hamilton and Raikkonen were 1-2 virtually the entire 70-lap race with Nick Heidfeld of BMW-Sauber holding off Alonso for third late in the race.

"A weekend full of stress and emotion. The issues that faced us, not just this weekend but also in the previous month has tested the resolve of the whole team," said Dennis.

Hamilton said he now wants to mend bridges with Dennis, with whom he had a reported shouting match over the team radio after qualifying over the team's tactics.

"Obviously (Saturday) he wasn't very happy, we just had to be professional," Hamilton said after the race. "We spoke about it, I gave him my views, he respected those. He said: 'OK I respect that because it is part of your personality and perhaps in your situation maybe that was better for you or whatever.'

"We came here and weren't distracted from our job. That's the main thing. I think going on from now we need to analyze the weekend as always. We do need to sit down I guess and talk as a team and reunite. But I have no worries about it," Hamilton added.

But it will be difficult with teammate Alonso.

"If I walk in and I see him I will speak to (Alonso). But I am not going to go looking for him and make him feel better," Hamilton said.

"When you have the two most competitive people in the team, possibly the two most competitive people around, both wanting to win, it puts the team under immense pressure," he said. "It is just extremely hard for everyone to play fair and to make it easy."

Earlier this year, McLaren's tactics also were questioned at the Monaco GP when Hamilton was told to "hold position" in second place behind Alonso rather than bid for victory as the McLarens went 1-2.

"I hope he still speaks to me," Hamilton said of Alonso, adding: "He doesn't seem to have been speaking to me since yesterday, so I don't know if he has a problem."

With six races remaining, McLaren will have its hands full managing the two best drivers so far of the 2007 season.

"The process of managing two such exceptional talents as Fernando and Lewis is made more challenging by having a race-winning car," McLaren said in a statement Sunday.

Likewise with its feud with Ferrari.

On Friday, Ferrari rejected accusations made earlier this week by Dennis that it used illegal car parts in the season-opening Australian GP, saying the claims were "both serious and false."

Dennis had accused the Italian team of having an "illegal competitive advantage" at the March race, saying Raikkonen may have won in a car using an illegal floor attachment mechanism.

The main dispute began when a 780-page technical dossier on Ferrari cars was found at the home of McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan, who has since been suspended. Ferrari mechanic Nigel Stepney was fired, but he claims he was set up.

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