Two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso thinks it will not take long for Lewis Hamilton's reputation to recover from any "damage" it has suffered because of the lying controversy he was involved in.
Despite having endured a fraught time alongside Hamilton when the pair were at McLaren in 2007, Alonso jumped to Hamilton's defense during the pre-race FIA press conference in Spain on Thursday. And although he reckoned Hamilton had been "damaged" by the affair that resulted in McLaren receiving a suspended three-race ban, he thinks that success on the track will soon make amends.
"I've always said the same thing. I was a season at McLaren and I had no real problems with Lewis," said Alonso when asked to comment about Hamilton's situation. "We had a good competition which helped each other to find our limits. I can say that maybe I am missing that competition in a way because, as I said, it was quite fun to really push and find new limits from ourselves.
"The problems I had there were with the big bosses and the philosophy of the team, so I decided to move on from that period of my career but Lewis has always been a great driver, a great champion, fighting for the World Championship in his first season in Formula 1, winning in the second season, so I think to really help the reputation or whatever has been damaged, I think will be very easy if he keeps winning.
"He will make people happy, his supporters and that's a very important thing, doing our job. The maximum we can do is driving the car, winning races, winning championships. This is the best thing you can do."
Hamilton himself, who ducked questions about the lying affair during a Vodafone press conference in Barcelona on Thursday morning, was keen to move on when asked about it later in the afternoon.
"I think I just need to get on with my job and keep being me; remain humble, just try to continue to do a good job and I hope that over the course of some time people will get to know exactly who I am and understand that I am in actual fact a good person," he said. "I do what I do because I love it."