Monte Carlo, Monaco. Thursday 22 May 2014. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari F14T. World Copyright: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic. ref: Digital Image _FER1586

wheels his F14T around the circuit in Monte Carlo, Monaco. (Photo: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic)

Fernando Alonso caused something of a stir yesterday when asked about a recent comment from Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche to the effect that the Spaniard was the best driver in the world.

Alonso responded by saying that it was always good to hear such comments from outsiders –and pointed out, somewhat enigmatically, that he didn’t always feel such support from closer to home.

“It’s always welcome when people see your job in a good way and respect what you try to do and what you try to achieve,” said Alonso. “Sometimes it’s strange to see good comments and good compliments from people from outside, and from the other side, that are supposed to be close to you, there are the opposite comments. It’s motivating for me, and it’s good to receive good comments, but it’s funny when you see the opposite in your closest friends.”

Ferrari has been quick to play down the significance of his response and today issued some quotes from , apparently given to an Australian road car journalist.

“Fernando is the best driver in the world, who always gives 200 percent in the races,” he said. “He knows how much I count on him, even away from the race track, in terms of his contribution and the impetus he gives to the team. I think it’s incredible that there are still some so-called experts who don’t understand that and are always looking for a polemical situation that simply doesn’t exist.

“The truth is that he and Kimi, another incredible driver, need a competitive Ferrari and giving them that is our sole objective. We are working very hard, starting with Marco Mattiacci, who knows what needs to be done and who will instigate many changes at a technical and organizational level and in speeding up the decision-making process. That’s what I want, as do our drivers and our fans, while all the rest is just idle chat.”

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