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Formula 1 News - February, 2008
Jerez fans close book on F1 racism says de la Rosa

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Feb.14 (GMM) Pedro de la Rosa says the behaviour of Spanish supporters at the Jerez test so far has been a perfect way to close the book on the Lewis Hamilton racism scandal.

The Spaniard, who is a native of Barcelona, insists that the bad behaviour of a few Fernando Alonso fans recently does not mean that the region or country is generally racist.

McLaren tester de la Rosa told the Spanish radio station Onda Cero that he is glad his countrymen at Jerez, in the south of the country, this week have behaved impeccably as teammate Hamilton returned to work.

After only a handful of Spaniards turned out at the circuit on Tuesday, a healthy crowd of 6,000 gathered on Wednesday as Alonso started work in his Renault.

To safeguard against more trouble involving Hamilton, local police joined with McLaren's own security guards at Jerez, according to the Cologne newspaper Express.

"The most important thing has been the response of the fans," de la Rosa, who is 36, told the radio programme Al Primer Toque.

"That has been the best way to end this whole controversy; to demonstrate that what happened in Barcelona was not typical.

"(At Jerez) the supporters have behaved as they always have. Yesterday, I heard shouts of encouragement to Hamilton from Spanish fans.

"It is the best way to close the book and move on," he added.

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