Lewis Hamilton options shrink as Red Bull retain Mark Webber

 

The door to a possible Red Bull drive for Lewis Hamilton slammed firmly shut yesterday when the Milton Keynes team confirmed that they had re-signed last Sunday's British Grand Prix winner, Mark Webber, for the 2013 season.

There had been speculation, albeit not as much as in 2011, that Hamilton might consider switching from McLaren when his contract runs out at the end of the season.

Webber, who switched from Williams in 2007 and has scored all of his nine grand prix wins with Red Bull, said: "I'm high on confidence at the moment and firing on all cylinders. I know the team well and I'm very comfortable here. We have grown together over the years and it feels like absolutely the right thing to stay for another season.

"They are constantly working hard to improve in all areas and we've shown that together we can win races. It's great to be able to make this announcement off the back of the win in Silverstone at the weekend and I'm looking forward to competing on the edge and pushing myself in every race again next season."

The Red Bull team manager, Christian Horner, said: "Mark has driven very well in the first nine races of this season and his performance has been impressive. Much of his Formula One success has been during his time with Red Bull and together we have achieved 10 poles, nine wins and 31 podiums. As there was a strong desire from both sides to continue the partnership, it was a logical decision to extend our relationship."

Webber said staying with the team with whom he nearly won the 2010 world championship, and for whom his team-mate Sebastian Vettel has won it for the past two seasons, had "in the end" been an easy decision.

"It's been an interesting few months, but overall the continuity and desire for me to continue at Red Bull Racing was very strong." said the Australian. "My main focus is on this year's championship, which is very important. In addition it's an amazing bunch of guys and girls at Red Bull Racing and I really, really like working with them.

"We've gone through plenty together and really changed when we started to get successful, in terms of getting the balance right between being extremely professional on all fronts to keeping that laidback and approachable attitude that the team still has. It's just one big family now. I fit well here. I virtually know everyone's shoe size! I know everyone's names, how everyone ticks and all the departments, which is very, very important."

Webber admitted, however, that he had looked elsewhere: "There were discussions with Ferrari, but my decision was to stay here." That may be good news for Felipe Massa, whose job Webber was slated to take for 2013.

Hamilton's options now appear to be to stay with McLaren or to go to Mercedes if Michael Schumacher is not retained. Though there has been a rapprochement between Hamilton and Fernando Alonso – they each gave the other a helmet at Silverstone, at the British driver's suggestion – Ferrari are not thought to be an genuine option.

After McLaren's disappointment at the weekend, when Hamilton was restricted to eighth place, their team chief, Martin Whitmarsh, said he did not think that performance would have an impact upon Hamilton's decision-making process.

Whitmarsh said: "I think he's smarter than that. My pitch is he's got to want to be in this team, which I believe he does. He knows that racing is highs and lows and this hasn't been one of the high weekends."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Extras
indybest
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee