Lewis Hamilton says it's 'gloves off' from now on

 

Lewis Hamilton is focusing on regaining some consistency ahead of this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, his first race since it was confirmed that he will be leaving McLaren for Mercedes.

Mercedes announced last Friday that Hamilton will replace the seven times world champion Michael Schumacher next season. The Briton has won two of his last five races but has failed to finish the other three – he was leading the last race, in Singapore, until a gearbox failure on lap 23 of 59 – leaving him in fourth place in the standings, 52 points behind Ferrari's Fernando Alonso with six races to go.

"In terms of the championship, there's nothing to be really gained by analysing the points tables," Hamilton said. "From now on it's simply gloves off. As in Singapore, I'll come out fighting, I'll just be hoping for a better result."

McLaren's team principal, Martin Whitmarsh, does not believe Hamilton made his move because he thought he would gain an advantage when new regulations are introduced in 2014. With F1 engines set to be changed from the current 2.4 litre normally aspirated V8s to 1.6 litre turbo V6s, there is a chance for teams to steal a march – but McLaren have themselves long been powered by Mercedes engines.

Whitmarsh said that McLaren will not be holding back on any new parts or upgrades they can provide the 2008 world champion, despite his coming exit. "Lewis is a McLaren driver, he will be the recipient of the development items that we have for this year's car," said Whitmarsh.

"He will have every single development... every race he'll expect things to his car and we'll be open with him on that."

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