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
News
people'Interview of the year' no letdown
Sport
Wayne Rooney
sportBut which sporting Brit beats him to top spot in Sunday Times Rich List?
News
Maxine Peake at home in front of a poster for Keeping Rosy
people
Arts and Entertainment
Boys in blue: Peter Firth and (right) Kit Harington in Spooks
filmHow well will Spooks make the leap from the small to the big screen?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Royal fans covered with Union Jacks and royal memorabilia wait for Kate, Duchess of Cambridge to go into the Lindo wing at St Mary's Hospital to give birth to her second child in London, Friday, April 24, 2015.
peopleLive updates in the wait for Duchess of Cambridge's second child
Sport
Arsène Wenger (left) and Jose Mourinho have to be separated by the fourth official, Jon Moss, during last October’s Premier League match at Stamford Bridge
football
Arts and Entertainment
Tate Modern chief Chris Dercon, who will be leaving to run a Berlin theatre company
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Tasos: 'I rarely refuse an offer to be photographed'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions
Peter Kay's Car Share: BBC show is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade

In the driving seat: Peter Kay

Car Share is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade. The programme's co-creator Paul Coleman reveals the challenges of getting the show on the road