Despite not being known for exactly keeping his own counsel, Nelson Piquet has advised McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton to keep their opinions to themselves as their relationship - and battle for the 2008 world championship - continues to simmer.

The Brazilian, who won three titles in his time with Brabham and Williams, admits that the ongoing 'war' between double champion Alonso and rookie sensation Hamilton is good in terms of attracting attention to Formula One, it is perhaps damaging their own reputations within the sport.

"To lose respect is never good," Piquet was quoted as saying by Spanish news agency EFE, "And, while I do not believe that they are at that point yet, they should take the opportunity to keep quiet."

Determined to keep his reputation intact, Hamilton took the unusual step of issuing a statement through the McLaren team in the wake of the controversy in Budapest, insisting that his relationship with Alonso had not deteriorated to the point being claimed by the media.

"For the record, Fernando and I are fiercely competitive and respectful of each other," he said, "We are both ambitious drivers who want to win. However, we are not drivers at war, as has been widely reported. Although we did not speak on Sunday, we have spoken since the weekend and continue to have a professional working relationship."



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