Pedro de la Rosa insists that most of the criticism attracted by world champions Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso is not justified.

The formula one veteran is close to both drivers, as a Spanish compatriot of Alonso, and the main test driver for Hamilton's team McLaren.

Hamilton and Alonso are among the most controversial figures of the grand prix circus: Alonso often caricatured as a whinger, and Hamilton regularly criticised for supposed arrogance.

Asked by the Spanish news agency Europa Press about the criticisms levelled at Hamilton, de la Rosa said: "It bothers me for the same reason that it bothers me about (the criticisms of) Alonso.

"The people who criticise do not know them, or have any idea about who they really are.

"They are two extraordinary, fantastic, professional guys, who are respected by the people who work with them," de la Rosa, 38, added.