Lewis Hamilton puts family before contract talks


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The Independent Online

On a gloomy day when continuous rain discouraged fast laps in Belgium's notoriously inclement Hautes Fagnes region, Lewis Hamilton had plenty of time to ponder his situation with McLaren. Following the sudden death of his aunt on his father Anthony's side earlier this month, contractual negotiations could not be completed as he had hoped during the summer break.

"We're further than we were last time I saw you but we're still in a similar place," he said, referring to Hungary, where he won the grand prix. "Nothing's signed, nothing's decided. But there are discussions. My people are on it, the action has started. But things change day by day. I've had a lot to think about the last couple of weeks, so I've put it off. And probably the next week or so, I won't be thinking about it. But after that… I know my guys are definitely making plans, and are in discussions."

He reiterated that the delay is personal, saying: "It's family stuff that is holding it up, mostly. It's not something I would like to comment on, to be honest.

"Many people go through what we have been going through; in our family we have not experienced this so it has been a really tough time but you have to try and move on with strength. The family is all together and it's just been incredible to see how strong the family has been."

Hamilton added that several factors were being discussed. "You never just sign a contract that's given to you," he said. "There are still lots of factors to be taken into account." But he said that keeping his trophies, said to be a sticking point earlier in the year, has not been discussed. "That's the last thing you would do," he said. "Like, 'Oh, I want to keep my trophies as well.' They can't say anything then. They wouldn't notice the difference, to be honest, if they had replicas in the cabinets, whereas I would."

Hamilton gave an interesting response when asked if he sees himself at McLaren next year. "I don't see myself anywhere at the moment," he remarked. "I really don't, because it's difficult to picture what is going to happen in the future.

"It's quite a difficult, interesting time in Formula One at the moment. If the rules were to stay the same for the next five years it would make the decision a lot easier. But you don't know what is going to happen because in 2014 the regulations change quite heavily. There are drivers who have made decisions, like Fernando when he came here [to McLaren] in 2007, who make a really lucky move because that year the car was great. So some people move and benefit and some people stay where they are and go backwards.

"It's a 50/50 chance, whichever way you look at it. You have to take a gamble on that, and I'm not much of a gambler. I always lose money at the casino!"

There is no way Hamilton will walk away from Formula One, however, and he made it clear that he is not impressed by the potential option of America's IndyCar series.

"I love racing, but I was watching IndyCar the other day, and… nah. It's not for me," he said." I love the Formula One car; it looks way nicer than an IndyCar."

After Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi set the pace in the morning, French rookie Charles Pic was fastest for Marussia in their 50th grand prix outing in the afternoon. It was that kind of day.