Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug insists the atmosphere in the McLaren-Mercedes team is fine, despite a week of controversial comments sparked by Fernando Alonso following the Canadian Grand Prix.

Alonso caused a stir on a Spanish radio station when he revealed he wasn't comfortable in the team yet, while he also speculated team-mate Lewis Hamilton was receiving preferential treatment as a British driver in a British team, a quote the youngster denied was the case.

Nonetheless, Haug has joined team boss Ron Dennis in vowing there is no 'friction' between their two drivers and that the way in which Hamilton has arrived and taken the fight to the double world champion is being seen as 'positive competition'

"In the past we were very often criticised that we tried to steer the drivers, to tell them what to tell the outside world and I think now we have the situation where they both speak their minds. But I have to tell you it is not a problem at all inside the team, I think it is very, very balanced and I cannot see any of these frictions. Of course you have positive competition between the drivers and between the teams on the right and the left-hand side of the garage.

"You share the data, after practice is over obviously, and I think that is a good approach. In a way it is like climbing a ladder, you go step by step and I think the atmosphere is good. Of course there is sometimes the feeling that you need to improve and you need to push but this brings you forward at the end of the day.

Much has been made of the relationship between Alonso and Hamilton in recent races, with British newspapers condemning Dennis for not allowing Hamilton to challenge Alonso in the latter stages of the Monaco Grand Prix.

Hamilton's win in Canada though sparked plenty of discussion in the Spanish press, particularly when Alonso revealed his discomfort so far within the team. Nonetheless, Haug stresses the actual situation is not as controversial as the media have made it out to be.

"I think it is a positive surrounding and I think Ron the team principle is strong enough to influence the whole situation. And of course Martin Whitmarsh and I have a positive influence on the guys. But it is not like it is described on the outside. I understand people are looking for controversial stories, that's what it is about.

"But inside the team it's different and if you look at our track record in the last couple of races I honestly do not think that with bad feelings inside the team you could achieve that. So I think we must have very positive and good feelings and I think that is what we have achieved."

 

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