Although all may appear to be well on the surface, but there clearly remains an element of unhappiness between Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton if the Spaniard's latest quotes are to be believed.

Out of the title race for the first time in four years, the Renault driver has voiced his opinion on who he would like to see take the 2008 crown - and, unsurprisingly, it is not his former McLaren team-mate and nemesis.

"I would like it to be Massa who wins," Alonso told an audience at a personal appearance over the weekend, "because, if he wins, it means that Hamilton will not."

The double world champion crossed swords with Hamilton in the Briton's debut season in the top flight, initially being surprised by the rookie's turn of speed, then his consistency, as Hamilton mounted a championship challenge that Alonso felt should have been his alone. The pair really fell out at the Hungarian Grand Prix, where both were accused of hampering the other's qualifying attempt, before Alonso was demoted five places from provisional pole for blocking his rival in the pit-lane and denying him a shot at a second flying lap.

Coincidentally, the Hungaroring was where the espionage affair involving McLaren took a major twist, with Alonso becoming a central figure in the ensuing investigation after telling team boss Ron Dennis that he had incriminating evidence on his personal computer. He left to return to Renault at the end of the season, and has struggled to regain his front-running form as the Enstone team languishes some way behind McLaren and Ferrari.

Having chased both Hamilton and Massa - as well as those from BMW Sauber and, last time out at Monza, Toro Rosso as well - Alonso has had chance to reflect objectively on the 2008 championship battle, and admits that he thinks the Briton still has the best chance of lifting the crown this season.

"The truth is that it is difficult to make a prediction, as they are almost equal," he suggested, "In the final four races, however, I see Hamilton as the bigger favourite, as he has been more consistent. If I had to put some money down, it would be on Hamilton."


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