McLaren boss Ron Dennis has refused to rule out the possibility of further 'team strategy' in today's Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, but at the same time took a sideswipe at the 'ferocious' media for trying to 'trip drivers up'.

With Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso sharing the front row of the grid for the race - as they did in Monaco two weeks ago, albeit in the opposite order, before the whole team orders/team strategy row erupted - much has been made of what will happen this time around. Dennis was unequivocal on the subject.

"We never issue team orders," he told journalists at the track after qualifying on Saturday. "We had a racing strategy in Monte Carlo which was to come first and second. That's what we are there to do and that's what we did, but to achieve it we have to cover every eventuality.

"Our policy here is no different to what it has been at any other grand prix over the last few years. We work hard on providing our drivers with equality, and we don't damage that equality in any way. We don't favour one driver over the other. We are very comfortable with what we do and how we do it."

Dennis insisted the only scenario in which 'team strategy' may be called into play would be in order to safeguard the team's positions should they come under threat from any other competitors or exterior circumstances such as safety car periods.

"They will be allowed to race full stop," he asserted, before adding: "Up to any point where we feel it's strategically necessary to protect our finishing positions."

Looking ahead to the race - one in which he hopes McLaren will be able to further extend the 20-point advantage it has established ahead of arch-rival Ferrari over the opening five grands prix of the campaign - Dennis said he was confident of registering the squad's third victory of the season, but was equally quick to insist nothing would be taken for granted.

"It was a fantastic qualifying result for the team for the second time in a row," the 60-year-old enthused, "and for Lewis to have achieved his first-ever Formula 1 pole position. Fernando was unlucky on his second qualifying lap not to have improved following two great first sectors.

"It doesn't need me to comment on Lewis' performance, because I think it speaks for itself. Both of our drivers are highly-polished in and out of the car. Obviously Lewis makes the odd mistake when dealing with the ferocious nature of the media, who have spent years developing mechanisms by which they can trip drivers up. He is learning quick, though, and becoming very professional at dealing with the inevitable efforts of the media to get the sound bite.

"I'm very happy with the way he is going, and we are very lucky to have two such exceptional drivers in the team. They respect each other and clearly both enjoy the challenge. It is difficult to manage, but so far everything has been very positive. Obviously we had a small blip on the radar in Monaco, but that's just motor racing.

"Maybe Ferrari feel the right strategy here is to go long. We will just have to see how the race unfolds. It's always a compromise in Montreal, and the worst circuit of all of them as regards braking. We are confident we will have a strong showing in the race, but certainly we will not be complacent."

 

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