Nov.15 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Self-interest may have motivated the new friendship between Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.

In 2007, the pair clashed spectacularly as McLaren teammates, and in the intervening years they have maintained a healthy distance.

At the penultimate grand prix of 2011 in Abu Dhabi, however, the pair spent the days leading up to the event praising one another’s talents.

Then, when they finished first and second in the race, they shared an unusually warm hug.

Hamilton explained to Italian broadcaster Rai: “I loved the fight with Fernando, I think he’s the strongest driver.”

With Sebastian Vettel out of the race with a rare retirement but having started from pole as per usual in his meteoric back-to-back championship season, the correspondent for La Stampa newspaper smells a rat.

With the 2012 season now looming and Red Bull’s dominance to possibly continue, journalist Stefano Mancini calls the new friendship between Hamilton and Alonso an “unholy alliance against Vettel”.