McLaren confident Lewis Hamilton will stay


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The Independent Online

McLaren believe that Lewis Hamilton will shortly re-sign for them. Team principal Martin Whitmarsh, speaking yesterday of the prospects of his driver staying – after Mark Webber's contract renewal closed a potential door at Red Bull – said he did not envisage any problems in concluding a new long-term deal to supersede Hamilton's existing contract, which expires at the end of the year.

"I'm expecting that we will," Whitmarsh said. "I think there has been more speculation in this situation within the media than perhaps within the team and Lewis's minds."

Hamilton confirmed recently: "We haven't sat down and discussed anything yet, but I'm sure over the summer break it would be nice to get something in place when we can be more relaxed and make the most sensible decision for the future."

Both Hamilton and Whitmarsh have been quick to stress that the decision over the new long-term deal won't be affected by McLaren's recent poor performance, which saw the British driver slip from holding the championship lead into fourth place.

"Lewis is more intelligent than that," Whitmarsh said. "We are going to the next two races trying to win, as we go to every race." Hamilton added: "You have to base your decisions on a much, much longer period of time. Only half a year cannot decide six years of partnership, or actually 14 years of partnership as I've been with them since I was 13. It's a much, much bigger picture.

"There are lots of things to take into account. These are the people that got me into Formula One. But, you know, I want to win.

"I'm not that young any more so I want to make sure that whatever I do I make the right decision, so that I can maximize my career. I just need to make sure that I'm winning. That's what I exist for, that's what I train and work for every day."