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Speculation starts early over Hamilton's future

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Andrew Benson | 14:57 UK time, Monday, 28 May 2012

Lewis Hamilton's future was the subject of fevered discussion at the Monaco Grand Prix last weekend as the driver market 'silly season' began in earnest.

Hamilton is out of contract with McLaren at the end of this season and, at 27, his career is at a crossroads, with arguably the most important decision of his life looming.

Hamilton is heading into his prime as a grand prix driver. With good reason, he regards himself as the fastest in the world and it pains him that he has won only one world title so far.

That came in 2008 and it has not escaped Hamilton's attention that since then, at least until the start of this year, McLaren had not provided him with a car that was truly competitive enough.

This season started promisingly, with McLaren locking out the front row at the first two races and Hamilton on pole in both. But since then their form has dipped, particularly in the last three races.

Lewis Hamilton was fifth in the Monaco GP, behind Sebastian Vettel who was fourth. Photo: Getty

Hamilton is still very much in the title race, but he left no-one under any illusions about his feelings after his fifth place in Monaco on Sunday.

It used to be the case that discussions about drivers' futures did not start until July and August. No longer. Teams and drivers will say publicly that it is far too early to discuss it. What they mean is that it is too early to talk about it to the media; behind the scenes a lot is going on.

Hamilton's future is tied up with that of Red Bull's Mark Webber and Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher and also, to some extent, Webber's team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
It is widely believed that all four top teams are interested in Hamilton - at least to the point of holding talks with his management.

McLaren definitely want to keep him and have made that clear to both Hamilton himself and his management team - but no substantive negotiations have taken place and no financial offers made yet, despite reports to the contrary. Mercedes are known to have him seriously on their radar as a potential replacement for Schumacher. The picture at Ferrari and Red Bull is slightly less clear.

There was a rumour going around in Monaco that Ferrari were keen on signing Hamilton for next season in place of Felipe Massa, whose time at the team is expected to end this season.

That seems unlikely for one obvious reason - Fernando Alonso is contracted to Ferrari until the end of 2016. There is huge mutual respect between the two - each regards the other as their biggest rival - but that's very different from wanting to be team-mates again.

When they were at McLaren in Hamilton's debut year in 2007, it did not go well, to put it mildly, and Alonso ended up leaving at the end of the season - just one year into what had been a three-year contract.

Alonso's problem was far more with McLaren boss Ron Dennis than it was with Hamilton. Nevertheless, it is unlikely he would want Hamilton to be his team-mate again - and Ferrari is very much his team these days.

Equally, Hamilton would have to think carefully about moving to a team where he does not speak the language - even if the debriefs are conducted in English and there is an English ex-McLaren technical director - and where a man as clever, cunning and political as Alonso has been ensconced for three years.

Nevertheless, Hamilton would be highly attractive to Ferrari's main sponsors, the cigarette company Philip Morris and Spanish bank Santander, who could drop McLaren if they had an English driver at Ferrari. Together, they could basically afford to pay him whatever he wanted.

The problem with this is that a normally impeccable source close to Ferrari says the team only want a one-year driver in 2013, as they have a pre-contract with Vettel for 2014.

This pre-contract, the source says, is two-way - ie, either party can exercise it - and is performance-related. Ferrari need to be at least third in the constructors' championship at a specific stage of next season to bring it into effect.

However, a senior Red Bull insider says this is "nonsense", that they have Vettel under contract to the end of 2014.

The favourite for the expected vacancy at Ferrari is Webber, who is coming towards the end of his career and may well be interested in a year or two at Ferrari to finish it off.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner asked rhetorically in Monaco: "Why would he want to leave?" But there are several potential reasons.

It would vastly increase Webber's post-F1 earnings potential and he would relish the chance to test himself against Alonso, a friend whom Webber regards as the best driver in the world.

Webber would not expect to beat him - in fact, he would almost certainly have to go to Ferrari on the understanding that Alonso was number one - but he would enjoy ruffling the Spaniard's feathers from time to time, as he almost certainly would.

If Webber were to leave Red Bull, that would leave a vacancy Hamilton could potentially fill.

Horner has always sounded lukewarm about taking on Hamilton, pointing out that it would raise the tension in the team as he and Vettel went toe to toe.

But ultimately it's not his decision - it's that of Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz, and the marketing value of pitting Hamilton against Vettel would be enormous.

And if Webber did leave, who else would Red Bull get? Even if Vettel is under a firm contract to the end of 2014, that's still only two years away - at which point they would still need a guaranteed top-line driver if he left.

Theoretically, Red Bull are committed to progressing their junior drivers, but Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne do not look ready for that sort of promotion yet.

Then there is Mercedes, whose decision is complicated by Schumacher.

Team boss Ross Brawn said in Monaco that he would like the seven-time champion to stay on as long as he is competitive, but there have been internal questions about whether - and how long - he will remain so.

Schumacher's commercial value to Mercedes is huge. But they have to ask themselves whether they are potentially harming their competitive position with their driver line-up - few in F1 would argue they would not improve it by recruiting Hamilton, Alonso or Vettel, who is also of long-term interest to the team.

Hamilton's decision is not just about driving, either. Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes would all almost certainly be able to pay him more than McLaren can afford to offer. And McLaren's portfolio of sponsors makes it almost impossible for Hamilton's team at Simon Fuller's XIX Management to raise money from private deals.

Ultimately, though, Hamilton will surely base his decision on competitiveness.

The best way to guarantee that in the last 20 years has been to drive wherever Adrian Newey is designer, which is Red Bull. Or does Hamilton bank on Mercedes continuing to raise their competitiveness (and, for that matter, staying in F1, which is far from a foregone conclusion at the moment)? Or take a risk on joining Alonso at Ferrari, should a seat be available?

Or does he stick with what he knows and trust the team with which he has been associated since he was 11-years-old to finally get it right, but potentially reduce his earnings potential?

Hamilton has some tough decisions to make in the next few weeks.


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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    As you said, it comes down to competitiveness.
    There's no way at this time that McLaren are helping either of their drivers - Button has gone into reverse (so to speak) since the first few races, and Hamilton is STILL encountering poor judgement and mistakes from the team. The fact of the matter is this - since Martin Whitmarsh has taken over, Hamilton has become frustrated with what's gone on around him. And if Ron Dennis was still in charge, I could see him pursuade Hamilton to stick around. Now, I wouldn't be surprised to see him go.
    Too many excuses from McLaren, not enough being done.

  • Comment number 3.

    i personally think he should leave,they clearly treat him like a no2,but unlike ferrari and rb at least they have the bottle to do it in public and are upfront about it.they treat jenson as the no1 which goes to show what direction the team are wanting to go.why does your pitstop take 4.3 seconds and a jensons 3.7,all these little things i think are getting to lewis.he was 12th in the pit time,rb and mercedes were in the top 6 from their 6 drivers and you wonder why they haven't won a constructors title in 14 seasons and barely won the drivers when they did get it.the team is error prone which is laughable when you think they spend millions of pounds trying to find 2/10 of a second but hand it back with a pitstop difference of 5/10 second

    the thing i worry about is would rb take a massive risk and upset vettel,or stick with solid and dependable yet unspectacular and easily dominated webber or any other rb young driver.and ferrari with alonso the 2 have mellowed towards each other as the respect and admiration have grown for each other,they are the 2 best drivers in f1 today,great for us as they have fantastic battles but eyes through hands for the team whos' every move is dicussed in detail in italy,and they havent delivered a race dominating car since 2008 the same like mclaren.if i was him i would chance it at mercedes,they got better over the seasons and he dominated rosberg when they were team mates in the lower divisions,and he also has a good relationship with mercedes amg.

    i think loyalty has nothing to do with it now,lewis has been great to mclaren,doing his massive amount of press,more than double any other sure his mind isnt totally focused on cash.he has helped f1 become what it is today with the extra millions of viewers,he came along when f1 was dying and he can lay claim to helping attracting the extra sponsers and the current ones renewing their deals.i honestly cannot see him winning a race in that car to be honest,also with the teams constant errors towards hamilton in terms of strategy,pitstops,radio communication etc,etc.

  • Comment number 4.

    Dont fuss over it, I reckon Hamilton will have that contract signed by Spa this season. Mclaren have also offered him 95million a year.

  • Comment number 5.

    McLaren is not competitive enough, Hamilton has lost valuable points and races because of wrong strategy and slow pits stops.

  • Comment number 6.

    Surely it can only be Redbull? Ferrari are no better at producing winning cars than McLaren. But its the little things that McLaren cant even get right like pitstops. Even at Monaco they were nearly a second slower than Ferrari (between Fernando and Lewis' time). Its just not acceptable for a top team and basically cost Lewis 3rd place.
    Seeing Lewis even against Vettle (or Fernando again) would be great. I just hope Lewis would be as fast as we think he is otherwise he could look a little bit stupid!

  • Comment number 7.

    His driving style has matured, but Maclaren are not consistently competitive any more - and it's more than the car, it's race organisation and management as well. A move to another car would not guarantee competitiveness. This season has shown that, more than ever before, rule changes have levelled the playing field. More World Championships are surely the driving force, but which car? The comment about following Adrian Newey would seem to be the best strategic advice.

  • Comment number 8.

    Sorry but Hamilton is McLarens secret No2 driver? What a load of tosh! Non of the top teams have shone this season, no one has an advantage and non is looking like they are suddenly going to zoom away from the pack. In fact the team that looks like it could improve the easiest is McLaren because if as others have said they can stop the mistakes they will be running at or near the front more often. Lewis has been happy with McLaren and I think they have the ability to turn it around and win the championship with either driver, but I wouldn't be suprised to see a new Hamilton contract for 1 or 2 years to give him that option to go elsewhere. If you are basing his decision on winning a championship then you may as well include Williams and Sauber who knows what those cars could do with Hamilton at the wheel.

  • Comment number 9.

    I don't think Mercedes is an option for Lewis, unless Mercedes can make thier car title winning this year & next year. Hamilton at Red bull will be same like Alonso at Mclaren, Hamilton at Ferrari will never happen till Alonso is there, so I think Hamilton will end up staying with Mclaren, which in all honesty is his best bet. I certainly don't like Hamilton's attitude towards his team, last year he had quite a few crashes because of his driver error & Mclaren never came out in public & said anything about him, where as this year its reverse, they are making few mistakes & hamilton is out in public moaning - should learn from Schumacher retire in 3-4 races this year & still havn't moaned about his team. Also I think Hamilton needs to get rid of his management team & stick with people who are close to him like what other drivers do - he needs people around him to make him feel good before/after the race.

    Also I think Mclaren need to look at thier number 2 driver button, if he carry on performing like what he is doing now - in a year time he will be Massa of Mclaren..

  • Comment number 10.

    Ferrari is Fernando's team and he should be there for a long time i hope. Ferrari are not stupid they will not hire both to race in the same team. Thought its a good pick if he did go there, the eyes of Italy are always watching, Making Ferrari work hard. And they are very rich if he was after money. Hamilton is in a tricky boat for sure. Red bull strong, Mercedes will get better, Mclaren is in the same boat as Ferrari waiting for very fast car. If i was him Red bull would be the way to go.

  • Comment number 11.

    @#4. Is it not £95M for 5 years...surely not enough to get out of his tax-free bed's not going to be Mercedes or Ferrari - Red Bull surely the only real alternative - but LH will want to lead a team and unless Vettel leaves he is going to stay at McLaren. He should remember their support, stay and help them develop a winning car. This season is far from over - and it's his turn to win the next GP.

  • Comment number 12.

    I don't think Lewis is that great to be honest, he only won a world championship by the skin of his teeth and it took timo moving over for him in Brazil. Sure, he does a good hot lap but he's the number 2 driver at mclaren because he is the inferior driver. He's upset everyone in one way or another and he's too hot headed, not good for mclarens image and another top team wouldn't have him. I would much rather see an up and coming youngster with button than Lewis. i don't understand why he gets all this love.

  • Comment number 13.

    @jackobeano ,Post 4 .
    er no , deffo NOT £95 million a year , the ( rumored ) 95 Mill was for a very long term contract , ( McLaren might want him , but not that much ! ) ..
    I for one reckon he will stay , and all of this is posturing by his management to get the max money . .

  • Comment number 14.

    Stick him in a Caterham, thats the same level as this mans so called talent! Never has there been such an overrated driver as this man! In fact stick him in a mg metro stock car then he can keep raming other cars and keep blaming other, Jensen, mclaren, aloneo etc, anybody but him self.


  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    There's been way too many errors in the McLaren pits and too many faults with their strategy this year -McLaren need to sort out that problem immediately rather than risk losing Lewis. At the same time, I can't picture him in the Red Bull team, nor with Alonso, and hopefully not Mercedes. Lewis' natural home seems to be McLaren, but only if they sort out their internal issues now.

    Very good and balanced article, I didn't realise there were quite so many considerations.

  • Comment number 17.

    Yet when everyone involved in F1 say he is one of the top two drivers atm, and the driver considered number 1 by most, Alonso, himself considers him his biggest threat, we should put that all aside and listen to the uninformed opinion of a silly internet keyboard warrior.

    People think the fact he has been in a big team from the start somehow undermines his achievement, but he challenged the best driver in F1 in his rookie year.

  • Comment number 18.

    Lewis with Alonso - can't see that.
    Lewis with Vettel - more likely but cant see that either.

    Mercedes with Schumacher gone - possible but a risk

    Lewis on a one year performance related deal with McLaren - his best bet for now.
    McLaren are the most professional team in the paddock, if not always the fastest and they always come good.
    If he agreed a deal where he could leave at the end of the year if they hadn't given him the machinery to win a championship then hes free to go.

    The situation at all the other top 3 teams would then be clear and his future in his own hands.

    His history at McLaren counts for something and sometimes its better the devil and all that...

  • Comment number 19.

    Really interested in seeing how this pans out, hell how this crazy season turns out. Its really interesting you pointing out the point that Alonso had more gripe with Ron Dennis than Lewis. Far too often, many are quick to attribute tension between drivers to clash of egos etc without ever considering the role of team management. For people to call Lewis petulant/hot headed etc simply because he pointed out the truth about the Mclaren is moronic. Fact of the matter is they had a good car at the beginning of the season and that would have given them the cutting edge until other teams caught on with upgrades. With rule changes doing lots to sort of level the playing field, strategy and overall team management will be critical this year possibly more than ever. Unfortunately Mclaren have been dismal on these two fronts. The only thing they have going for them so far is the superior driving abilities of their drivers, especially Lewis. Ferrari don't have the best car but Alonso is up churning out the big ones because of superior strategy, team management and exceptional driving.

  • Comment number 20.

    Although I really hope he doesn't, I reckon he will go to Red Bull. Webber will be away at the end of the season for sure, no way Hamilton will go to Ferrari with Alonso there, and i can't see Schumi walking away just yet especially after getting a pole worthy time at Monaco, I think he will only get stronger.

    The thing that annoys me with Hamilton, not so much this year but in the past, how many points has he cost the team with his mistakes? They always stood by him, but he takes any chance he gets to take a swipe at the team.

  • Comment number 21.

    im not so sure its all about the money, there must come a point when these sports mega stars just dont really need another million or so. I would like to think that Lewis will take the Senna view that "i will drive for free" given that Williams was best placed (at least at the time of Sennas decision) to give him a car that can win. . .and that is surely the issue here.

    No one team has a 'streets ahead' car right now and i would have though that staying put would make more sense than a move, in particular to Ferrari

  • Comment number 22.

    The performance level of the Mclaren car this year has not been the problem. The level of basic errors and misguided strategy is what is ruining both Button and Hamilton's seasons. Mclaren are usually meticulous when it comes to these areas so it is a big surprise to see them struggling in this manner.

    Both drivers will be expecting serious improvements in the very near future, if that doesn't happen, they will both start considering their futures. The Mclaren set-up should be perfect, a British led team with two superb British drivers. But for some reason it isn't working right now. The big positive for Lewis is that the championship is still wide open and a couple of wins will propel him right to the summit.

    The notion that Lewis Hamilton is over-rated and he is causing his own problems is a very odd one. His talent is undeniable even if his temperament has let him down in the past. Also the idea that people can't see Hamilton driving for another team is strange. Many of the top drivers over the years have plied their trade with several different teams and had success. Fernando Alonso's career illustrates that perfectly.

    Hopefully Mclaren will sort themselves out now and this won't be an issue that lingers. They can still play a huge part in an unpredictable and exciting F1 season and that is how it should be.

  • Comment number 23.

    Looks like a promotional photo for the company that donated his sunglasses. Surely this violates the BBC's charter, or at least is an ethically wrong use of the licence fee payers' hard earned cash.

  • Comment number 24.

    No mention of Lotus? They certainly appear to be the 'up and coming' team in F1 at the moment. And don't forget, a certain Mr Senna once drove for them too ....

  • Comment number 25.

    Ferrari - No chance as long as Alonso is there (till 2016 I think).

    If Hamilton does leave then the only teams he would join are either Red Bull or Mercedes. This is only possible IMO if Schumi does indeed retire at the end of the season. Then I think the most likely situation will be Vettel joining Merc and Hamilton going to Red Bull.

    Having said all that, I think Hamilton will end up staying with McLaren for at least another year.

  • Comment number 26.

    I'm not a Hamilton fan but he is incredibly mature and patient this season. McLaren do not deserve him, he is too good a driver to mess up. He'd be better off moving to a team with a consistent approach to each race like Red Bull. Maybe Ferrari if they move up a notch in machinery because the car was a tractor at the beginning and the only reason they win is because of Alonso. I find it really professional that they have this incredible respect for each other that you don't find in many drivers that have had tough rivalries.

    Lewis + Fernando = Ferrari team

    Not likely, as much as they are professional I agree with Benson that it just wouldn't work out really.

    Lewis + Nico = Mercedes team

    A possible solution but the problem is that Michael may not leave and perhaps the Mercedes has just one good year so they'll be stuck in an uncompetitive car unable to fight for championships.

    Lewis + Vettel = Red Bull team

    Also unlikely as it would just be too great for the team. With 2 top drivers, it's another mismatch. Like McLaren had in the late 80s and early 90s with Senna and Prost. Too amazing drivers but the relationship turned sour, bitter and they just left.

    Benson, you have to remember Alonso may not stay at Ferrari either if he isn't supplied with a competitive, consistent car with pace on every circuit. He might move to Red Bull. He will most likely dominate because he is arguably the best driver on the grid in an uncompetitive car still challenging for the title. Get him in a car capable of doing so and you have unparalleled success. Though it may not be good for the sport it still is what he deserves.

  • Comment number 27.

    Boring subject really, covered many times before. That said LH does seem to be managing a difficult season rather well and he deserves a win, which I am sure will come. Mclaren are faltering at the moment and Lewis needs to get them back on track.

    There aren't many options for Lewis amongst the establish teams but Lotus next season would be interesting......

  • Comment number 28.

    Hamilton moving to Ferrari while Alonso is still there is clearly not going to happen. Thats just a recipe for Ferrari civil war.
    A move to Mercedes is a big risk as no one knows if they will be continue to perform competitively for the next few seasons.
    Maybe there is a space for Hamilton at Red Bull if Vettle where to leave to Ferrari in 2014, as this blog suggests might happen.

    I reckon Hamilton should leave McLaren sooner rather than later, this season they have held him back with their incompetence in all areas of the sport along with Nigel Mansell leading his anti-Hamilton campaign through the race stewards. Its a bit obivious that Mansell is out for Lewis as he spends have of his life writing anti-Hamilton articles in magazines and the other half giving him penalties. I'm not even a Hamilton fan but I think its becoming a joke how harshly he is treated by the stewards compared with all the other drivers.

  • Comment number 29.

    If Hamilton takes those pathetic earrings out I reckon he'll find an extra
    two or three tenths of a second per lap extra?

  • Comment number 30.

    @ Barca500 and fair play to Jensen and Lewis for pointing out the areas where the team needs to improve. I get the sense that maybe Mclaren's past meticulousness led them to predominantly focus on car development and PR even, at the expense of strategy and planning. Am at pains making sense out of their sub-par performance in those areas except to note that they seem totally unprepared (almost)

  • Comment number 31.

    Can't understand some of the comments on here about Hamilton being overrated.... He is probably the fastest driver on the grid, and thats recognised by both Vettel and Alonso....they both see him as their biggest threat. Agreed he can be a bit reckless, but what about Senna?? how many times did Ayrton stuff his car? And im the biggest fan of Senna and Button, but still recognise Lewis's talent. He is special. And for that reason he will go for a team that will deliver him multiple championships, and because there have been 6 separate winners this season, he will stay at McLaren. I would.

  • Comment number 32.

    @4 Jackobeano

    Not 95 million a year it's 30 million a year.

  • Comment number 33.

    @31 jimmychoos

    Ayrton was the best, no arguments so don't compare him with people who are nowhere near his ability.

  • Comment number 34.

    'Also I think Mclaren need to look at thier number 2 driver button, if he carry on performing like what he is doing now - in a year time he will be Massa of Mclaren..'

    For a number 2 driver he's done a pretty good job mugging his team mate for the past 2 years, LOL!

  • Comment number 35.

    What I cannot believe is the source at Ferrari saying Vettel has an agreement in place for 2014. That's massive but gets lost in the article above. If Vettel is moving on then quite clearly that is where Hamilton will be going. No chance of Ferrari – no matter what the relationship with Alonso, there will never be room for two No. 1 drivers there. And I can’t see him going to Mercedes yet unless they start stringing some wins together.

    Question is, if Hamilton does move, who replaces him at McLaren and who would be his team mate at Red Bull once Vettel leaves.

    One thing’s for sure – the top teams have been unusually stable for a while now – I love a good driver merry-go-round!

  • Comment number 36.

    The problem with this is that a normally impeccable source close to Ferrari says the team only want a one-year driver in 2013, as they have a pre-contract with Vettel for 2014.
    Don't believe Vettel would play second fiddle to Alonso at Ferrari. Don't believe Alonso would want a driver as good as Vettel to be his team-mate. I can't see Vettel moving to Ferrari while Alonso is still there (i.e. until the end of 2016).

  • Comment number 37.

    First off, may I point out that contrary to what was posted here a few weeks ago, Michael Schumacher is not 'dead' yet. At the age of 43 (?), the old dude can still kick ass.

    Second. Interesting how the article was suppose to look at Hamilton, but really was more about Alonso, Webber, RedBull and Ferrari :) ..

    Third, Hamilton will stay with McLaren as (imho), the other teams are not as interested in him, as British media will have us believe.

  • Comment number 38.

    Maybe it's not mclarens fault he's so uncompetitive. The name of the game is being able to mind your tyres and he simply can't do that. He's like a spoilt child who despite being told many times to mind them and he stilll go's out and destroys them. Mainly due to annoyance that he cant compete with the big boys in terms of mental strenght is his biggest problem.

  • Comment number 39.

    Everyone in F1, drivers and engineers alike, all recognise Hamilton as the best/fastest driver on the circuit. Button is Mr. Dependable. He'll get points by being careful. Hamilton has, this year, been a lot more careful as was proven at Monte Carlo on the weekend. Last year he was ripped apart by the press for attempting a manoeuvre on the stupidly slow Massa. So this year he just stuck to his line and raced for points even though it probably annoyed him immensely. Whether this is Lewis sticking to the party line or it's something he has decided to do himself, I don't know. I would have loved to have seen him make a attempted pass on Vetel rather than plod around the final laps knowing that no other driver was going to do anything.
    Hamilton brings excitement to the sport. Like V. Rossi in MotoGP at LeMans the other week, these people are the reason we keep watching.

  • Comment number 40.

    I know we have space to fill but lets at least get some facts straight. £95 million a year!!! what rubbish. Its a £100m over a 5 year contract! Pretty decent contract and I cant imagine anyone else paying much more. Lewis, McClarens number TWO??? This was summised by a difference of 0.6sec in a pit stop. A piy stop executed by a predominantly different crew to Jensons anyway!! His own crew! Lewis is a McClaren man. He understands loyalty. There are 4, perhaps 5 cars which are competetive this year. McClaren being one of them. There is very little between them. I dont supoose it has even crossed his mind to leave as yet. He knows that im the coming weeks he has the car that could string 2 or 3 victories together which can make all the difference in the title race. He isnt going to race with Alonso at Ferrari or Vetel at Red Bull. Mercedes have won ONE race as have Williams. There is just no stand out performer, car wise this year. Dont tell me, with LOTUS, we suddenly have 6 GREAT cars on the grid.

    A pretty tedious race on Monaco this weekend. No controversy, nothing to write home about. Two weeks ago it was 'Schumi must retire' - then he qualifies fastest at Monaco. This weeks 'space filler' is Hamilton to leave Maclaren. Pure speculation! Or lazy journalism as I like to call it!!!

  • Comment number 41.

    @38 twal20

    He doesn't destroy his tires. Look at Spain, did a two stop strategy when he was last and still managed to finish the race in the points. By the way, a two stop strategy is harsher on the tires because a longer stint sucks more life out of the them. In contrast Mr Button is having a very wretched time with them.

  • Comment number 42.

    The problem with this is that a normally impeccable source close to Ferrari says the team only want a one-year driver in 2013, as they have a pre-contract with Vettel for 2014.
    However, a senior Red Bull insider says this is "nonsense", that they have Vettel under contract to the end of 2014.

    What a load of rubbish!!!!!! Every time this is what he bases his articles on.

    If mercedes can prove their quick enough hamilton will go there or if vettel goes to ferrari he will go to red bull simple.
    Not enough to make an article out of, mclaren need to cut out the silly mistakes because they are costing hamilton points and maybe the title maybe

  • Comment number 43.

    @33 ferrarilover9999

    Ayrton was the best.........forgot about Schumacher? Seven time WDC even with inferior machinery!

    Why does everyone still enjoy turning this into a Button bashing? He won the 2009 championship with a car that didn't even make winter testing. I think maybe some respect is due.

    As regards to LH, swap him for Webber and lets just see some good old fashioned motor racing. Please don't forget though, Webber is still in the championship hunt this year and could be the 2012 WDC!

    Schmacher will not retire this year. He will win a race before the season ends and will be on the podium on more than one occasion. He knows how to race and how to win. The new Schumacher is very much part of the success of Mercedes and he is there to help develop the team back into top flight racing. Rosberg is underated and will be there long after Schmacher's work is done. I think Vettel or LH would not be a good step forward as when Schumacher finally retires, he will hand the team leadership to Rosberg as he will have earned his place in the team.

    Lewis needs to stop whinging and get on with it. He has never served his apprenticeship with a lower team. No Minardi, Arrows or in this day no Caterham, HRT or Marussia. He should be thankful for the drive he has had and the money he has earned over the last five years.

    He earns in one race what the rest of us mere mortals earn in ten years! 95 million is obscene and he should be ashamed in the current time of austerity. He could bail out Greece with his salary!

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    @38 twal20

    What about Spain? He had a harsher strategy on his tyres yet he still did well on them and managed to finish 8th after starting last. It's also a greater feat because he started last, therefore in the turbulent air of other cars meaning the tyres will wear out faster.

  • Comment number 46.

    I think Mcclaren for all their faults still have the potential to win the championship this year. While Red Bull may be faster and better at pitstops Mclaren have been competitive this year and are still in the hunt. As for Mcclaren treating Lewis as number 2 driver, so far this year that would only point at a team that doesn't want to win as Hamilton is consistently faster than Button. Mistakes will be made by other teams over the year and I for one wouldn't be surprised to see Hamilton champion at the end.

  • Comment number 47.

    I don't think that Vettel would work as well at Ferrari or any of the other teams bar perhaps Mercedes. I think that one of the good things about Red Bull is how although they are a serious racing team they have a fun exterior. I also think that a driver such as Kobaiashi could really learn from a driver such as Alonso. Obviously he isn't rated as one of the best now but his style would, in my opinion, improve to race winning standard if he was mentored by Alonso.

  • Comment number 48.

    @43 Slatemeister

    What are you talking about? It was Senna who had inferior technology! Schumacher had a car that was half a second faster than any other when he was at Ferrari.

  • Comment number 49.

    Hamilton has more to consider.. No point looking at teams current performance, the F1 rules change significantly at the end of 2013, with certain materials banned, introduction of hybrid electric drive for the pit lane and of course the new 1.6 Litre Turbos, with turbos limited on boost pressure and engines limited to 15,000 rpm. Chuck all that in a mix with increased mandatory weight of the car itself, and the associated bodywork and chassis changes to accomodate all of the above.. Now does somebody want to have a stab at who will do it best..? Good luck predicting that one!

  • Comment number 50.

    No chance of him leaving. All tantrums are just to get McLaren to offer him more money. Apart from McLaren, only Ferrari would be able to match his salary demands, not Red Bull not Mercedes. I can't see him going to Ferrari. Ferrari is Alonso's team, the majority of sponsors are there because of Alonso. The last thing they want to see is Hamilton. He'd have to take a salary cut to go to Red Bull but they'll for sure hang on to Webber. Mercedes is a possible option, but with their involvement in F1 being questionable, the last thing Lewis would want is for them to pull out and him be out of contract. If he leaves McLaren, for sure, he'll never be allowed back.

  • Comment number 51.

    It's was clear to me in the tone when Lewis said "i really don't enjoy going backwards" that he was strongly implying both to McLaren and prospective employers that he is seriously contemplating his future.
    I am a big Hamilton fan and would be the first to admit that last year he contributed to his own downfall but this season he has been focused and with a quick qualifying car he has essentially earned three pole positions. The problem is points are not handed out on Saturday and Hamilton has failed to convert these poles (one was obviously stripped away quite harshly in my opinion) and as a result is beginning to fall behind Alonso and Vettel. He has had as good a chance as any of the top drivers to win and for one reason or another he has failed to do so. As EJ commented on; Lewis has been unlucky this so far this season. He has made no evident mistakes but still finds himself without a win.
    McLaren and Whitmarsh must bare the brunt of this responsibility. They labour with excuses around the Pirrelli tyres and pit stop errors instead of building on a good car and developing at an equivalent rate to their competitors.
    Hamilton does have a huge decision to make before next season. Obviously we are not privy to all the facts but McLaren have to prove they can provide Hamilton with the car and the team around him to win his first title since Ron Dennis stepped down in 2009 and thus far McLaren and Whitmarsh have failed quite spectacularly.
    I can't see Hamilton and Alonso together at Ferrari despite their mutual respect. It's Alonso's team. Mercedes seems like an extremely viable option as long as Shumacher retires again which seems quite likely. The Mercedes and Ross Brawn is quietly going about their business of developing a consistent race winning package. They have had two pole positions and seem to have unlocked the secret to success with the tyres. In addition, they have some thing McLaren don't; a strong team principal in Ross Brawn with a proven track record of delivering success.
    Lewis would surely have had at least one more title had the team had delivered as a team of McLaren status should have.
    Lewis's self confessed hero is the late great Ayrton Senna who made few mistakes but one was staying at McLaren too long. If Hamilton wants to emulate his hero and win three driver's titles he needs to be prepared to make a ruthless decision, and soon.

  • Comment number 52.

    @49 yeah thats when I will stop watching F1 as it wont be about building the fastest car load of rubbish rule changes 15000 rpm so cars will be hitting the limiter earlier and won't be able to overtake cheers bernie thanks 4 nothing bringing turbos back won't help either used to enjoy the 90's and early 2000's when cars were built to go fast not to make more of a "spectacle" f1 is turning into a complete lottery and circus at the same time.

  • Comment number 53.

    And what if Lewis wins in Canada? What of McLarens mistakes then?

    The season has been all over the place this year so far, can any of use truely say, hand on heart, which team is strongest, which car is the fastest, which driver is the best?

    The stats would suggest Redbull are the best team, thanks to two wins and consistent results. Alonso best driver as he's top of the championship. Merc the fastest car? well, possibly, that ones a little harder to know just yet.

    But lets not rule out Lotus, Sauba or Williams...

  • Comment number 54.

    "With good reason, he regards himself as the fastest in the world"

    Sixth line only. If there is an Andrew Benson column that mentions Hamilton without using that sentence, I'll eat my hat. Now I shall continue reading to see if AB goes on to give his own opinion on how fast Hamilton is.

  • Comment number 55.

    Andrew, hows it feel to write an article about Hamilton without trying to take a side swipe at him?

    Is this your latest attempt to avoid talking about what's gone wrong with Button? will be interesting to see if you're so quiet on the subject when Lewis inevitably has a bad race or two.

  • Comment number 56.

    If I was Lewis I would seriously consider Red Bull but only if Adrian Newey is the cheif designer, Adrians pedigree in designing winning cars is legendary.

    Ferrari are like Mclaren, they to have'nt be able to design and build a competivie car over the last few season and the wins are from a over performing Alonso, and I cant see Lewis being a no.2 driver to Alonso.

    Mercedes, would be interesting to see as Lewis already been driving for a Mercedes powered car since he came into F1.

    Another which is not mentioned is Lotus, which has suddenly turned into a contender in this years championship.

  • Comment number 57.

    In my opinion LH best option is to sign a one year extension with Mclaren and see where things are at the middle of next year. Ferrari are now Alonso's team so I don't see Ferrari as being an option. Both Lotus and Mercedes need to show that they can build a competitive enough car before joining them on a long term deal, although if he did join either he would undoubtedly be the number 1 driver in either team. Then there is Red Bull he could wait one year to see if Vettel decides to leave there for Ferrari. As I think if LH and Vettel were team mates you would see a situation where they would take points off each other and someone else would nick the title as nearly happened in 2010 when Red Bull should have dominated but Webber and Vettel took points off each other. Also if LH stayed 1 year at Mclaren it would give them the chance to prove they could build him a car and cut out the mistakes of the past years. And let's not forget he could easily still win this title.
    The question then is would Mclaren be wiling to sign him on a one year deal only? Could they put a clause in to make it a 2 year option if they built a car to certain winning standards? I think the silly season won't truly start until LH makes a decision as a lot depends on what he does to what other teams and drivers will do.

  • Comment number 58.

    It's been so frustrating watching McLaren fumble their way through races so far this championship, can't imagine how Button and Hamilton must feel about it. Been saying for a while that Lewis needs a fresh start at a different team, and as a viewer the idea of Hamilton vs Vettel is thrilling. Red Bull as for a while seemed the most natural fit for him and certainly seems the most sensible option. Alonso as to much control at Ferrari and would simply be a bad move for Hamilton, while Mercedes can't yet guarantee a real competitive car each and every year.

    It's been fun having Button and Hamilton on the same team, and they've shown real respect for each other on and off the track which seems pretty rare in F1 these days. But Lewis's best bet in my opinion is Red Bull, and I'd be happy to see him join and challenge Vettel. That said, we know that Hamilton as been very dedicated to McLaren so I wouldn't at all be shocked to read in a few months the headline 'Hamilton signs new McLaren contract'. He's been at times to loyal to a team who've let him down a little to often.

  • Comment number 59.

    If Hamilton did what Pastor Maldonado did to Perez, its save to say that the whole that he would have been banned to race for life by Nigle Mansell and his cronies. The stewards are now so inconsistent and bias that they're comparing to the bias ways of the stewards in Senna, Prosts and Mansells (himself) days. Its an absolute joke.

  • Comment number 60.

    THis is assuming that any of the main teams are TRULY interested in Hamilton. Yes, he came second in the championship in 2007, won in 2008 but can that truly be counted. After a fixed race the FIA regulations say that the points should be re-calculated, but it never was. Fir years McLaren has always been "Team Hamilton", it's good that Jenson is getting the treatment as no.1 driver, he HAS won more than Hamilton at the end of the day, there's no denying THAT. The way many people treat him like a god is wrong. Overlook so many things he does but criticise other drivers for doing exactly the same thing?! Formula Hamilton needs to go. Besides, after being at the last race and SEEING him in the Lotus (Renault) garage who's counting THEM out?

  • Comment number 61.

    43. At 09:35 29th May 2012, Slatemeister wrote:

    He earns in one race what the rest of us mere mortals earn in ten years! 95 million is obscene and he should be ashamed in the current time of austerity. He could bail out Greece with his salary!


    I don't understand what his salary has to do with anything - let alone why he should be ashamed of what someone else is prepared to pay him.

    For the record, the 95 million is not his current 'salary', it is rumoured to be a 5 year contract that McLaren are prepared to offer him. I say rumoured, as Andrew Benson here states that no offers have yet been made, and presumably he has looked into it.

    As for not driving for a 'lesser' team - some drivers are spotted at an early age and the talent can be seen in them. They get to join the driver academy's for the top teams and, if they perform, eventually get the move up to F1. There is no shame in having potential.

  • Comment number 62.

    Hamilton should leave McLaren at the end of the season. Too many mistakes have been made which have cost him dearly over the past couple of years. He shouldn't go to a team like Red Bull or Ferrari, as they already have their top driver (Vettel, Alonso). He should go to one of the middle teams e.g. Sauber, so that the team and car will be built around him. No doubt the sponsors will follow him also.

  • Comment number 63.


    Again, I can't see how people can rate Button ahead of Hamilton. I'm not even a Hamilton fan but find myself defending him. Fine their pace is fairly similar when the car is good but when they have a bad car, Button is useless. Remember 2009, Hamilton had a dog of a car in Melbourne but still managed to cross the line in the top 5. No one seems to remeber the second half of the Brawn season when the Brawn car was very average compared with the rest of th field.

    Barichello completely out did Button in qualifying and in the race. The fact is simple (and applies to Vettle aswell), Button can not drive a bad car to save his life unlike Alonso and Hamilton.

    As for your comment on the fact that Button as one more than Hamilton is ridiculous. Button has been in the sport for far longer than Hamilton has and won most pf his races in the first half of 2009 when his car was untouchable. Any decent driver could have done the same in his position.

  • Comment number 64.

    Red Bull is the logical option if they stay consistent.

  • Comment number 65.

    Can't see him leaving, he's been part of the Mclaren setup for so many years, despite all his grumblings and hissy fits I don't think he'd want to race anywhere else.
    It might be different if there was 1 clear team out in front like there has been the last couple of years, but as the pack is so tight he'd surely only be making a sideways move.
    Given how the regulations are going to change yet again in 2014, he'd be better off staying put until then at least.

  • Comment number 66.

    Are you sure Santander could pay him whatever he/they wanted? There's every chance the bank will be making some major cuts very soon!

  • Comment number 67.

    All of this whining about where Hamilton will go, he's treated like a number 2, his pit stops are slower, McLaren is not competitive, cry, cry, cry.

    Based on how he performed last year, he is the number 2 at McLaren, this year. I seem to remember a man acting like a child driving the #3 MP4-26 in 2011, while a much more mature driver ended up second to Vettel as the clear number 2 on the team. Hamilton did nothing last year but cry and complain, he alienated himself from the team. He's a spoiled little boy that needs his nose wiped for him. He may be the 'best raw talent' driver in F1, but that may be the only thing he has going for him. Because as it stands now, it's been almost 4 years since he's won the championship. Time for the little school boy to put up, or shut up, and stop relying so heavily on his past.

  • Comment number 68.

    i think red bull would prefer button over hamilton in my opinion. he gets on great with vettel and the team. hamilton needs to stop whining and let his racing do the talking. what was this weekend? ah that's right, people dropping things from the balconies.

  • Comment number 69.

    With every entry into the Andrew Benson blog, I take him less seriously! Ferrari pre-contract with Vettel, Webber favourite to replace Massa???? F1 racing over the last few seasons has been exciting enough, we don't knew Andy boy to liven things up with his "out-there" posts. At the end of the day, I don't think anybody will be suprised to see Hamilton in a Mclaren next year. The only person that seems to doubt that is Andrew Benson, or so he wants us to believe.

  • Comment number 70.

    Do you know if Alonso has woven into his contract that he maintains being the highest paid driver on the grid?

  • Comment number 71.

    @63 couldn't agree more. I'm not a Hamilton fan but for people to say Button is obviously better are wrong. So far at Mclaren in terms of seasons it is 1-1. LH won in 2010 and Button won in 2011. On terms of world titles it is also 1-1. But when you look at race wins and pole positions LH is doing better than Button. And if you worked out points scored per race driven LH would be better. Button has cred since 2000 an let's not forget the debacle of will he or won't he join williams or stay at BAR. LH is in the top 3 drivers on the grid. Would be awesome to see him, vettel and alonso in the same car to see once and for all who was the best. But I think Button is in the 2nd tier of drivers with Rosberg, Webber and now Schumacher.

  • Comment number 72.

    I love how everyone is saying Vettel and Hamilton at Red Bull...
    Not if Webber wins the Championship lol. I think Red Bull are happy with their drivers. Yes Webber's only result was last week, but with four 4th places, he does have the consistency that Hamilton and most others (apart from Alonso) have.
    I could see him going to Mercedes, Rosberg is making that car very quick this season, or what about seeing him at Lotus Renault? They have also looked in trim this year, sneaky outside bet, Hamilton and Kubica next year :P

  • Comment number 73.

    LH has to stay at McLaren, they are known for improving the most throughout a season and hopefully can sort out their niggles this season pretty quickly too. If Ron Dennis could take up the helm on the racing side again then it's a no brainer for LH to stay.

  • Comment number 74.

    Lewis should move ON to a other TEAM simple for the reason that he needs some fresh air.His race craft is top but only with improving in mind management ( what we can already see this saison) setup skills and team management is can win WC again

  • Comment number 75.

    With all the money that Hamilton has earned - and avoided paying [UK] tax on by moving offshore (so the NHS, education, etc., are denied his 'fair share' of paying back to the country which nurtured him) - and his undeniable self-belief, maybe he should put that money where his mouth is and buy one of the [lesser] teams (or set up his own from scratch).

    Is Hamilton really a great driver, capable of making the difference (a but like when Schumi went to Ferrari at a time when it looked like never again winning the title, albeit in an era when budgets and testing were essentially unlimited), or does he just rely upon being GIVEN a racewinning car and drive it well....?

  • Comment number 76.

    From AB's piece, it sounds at though it is pretty much out of Hamilton's hands.

    At least for the timebeing, none of the other teams wants to dump a driver to get him, and will only be interested if one of their current drivers moves on.

    The only weakpoint is Massa, but if he is now finally upping his game, Ferrari may opt to keep someone who 'knows his place' rather than opt for two drivers prepared to put self-interest first to win....

  • Comment number 77.

    I'd love to see Lewis make a move to Ferrari. I think Alonso was hard done by due to Ron Dennis' favoritism towards Hamilton and probably caught off guard by the immense speed of a Rookie when he should've ran away with it in theory. I think he and Alonso've both matured vastly since 2007 and the mutual respect between them is insane given what they went through. It'd also push Ferrari to improve and both drivers could have the potential of reaching a completely new level for the current era fiercely trying to beat the other, whilst not being able to complain too much when beaten by the other as both see each other as the best drivers on the field.
    If he did move, I'd love to see either Perez or Di Resta taking his seat. It'd be fascinating to see what they could do in a front running car. I'd like to say Webber as well, but I think having Button there and Webbers age they'd try find a new youngster to fill Hamiltons gap.
    On a slightly separate note, I'd like to see what Massa does next. I like the Brazilian and think he did fantastically on the weekend; had he repeated/improved his Q2 time he would've been infront of Alonso and could've been in a strong position for a podium. I think a move to maybe Lotus/Force India/Sauber could re-ignite his career after having to come back from that horrible crash to just be demoralized by Alonso stealing what could've been his team having driven increasingly better through 06-09.
    But really I can't see Lewis moving until 2014. If I was in his position I'd keep my head down and do what he's doing and try pick the team up, but keep an eye on what everyone's doing for developing their 2014 cars and go where he thinks the strongest car might be. It'd be a cheap way of stealing the championship if he picked right, but more than make up for his luck in 2007.

  • Comment number 78.

    Along with Alonso, I still feel Lewis is the best driver on the grid. The issue for him is, if he moves to any other team, other than Mercedes, he will not be seen as the number 1 driver - with Vettel and Alonso being the top dogs at their respective teams. I think if he gets the reassurances that he needs, and deserves, that the Mclaren team can deliver and he is the number 1 driver - he will stay.

    On the flip side though, a move would be exciting for the sport and to see Lewis in one of the other top cars, especially the red bull - would be good for the fans and for F1 as a whole - Not so good for Vettel though.....

  • Comment number 79.

    I think people who think Hamilton is over-rated are people who don't like his Hollywood image. Which I also think is a distraction, but his talent and raw speed is not in dispute, Alonso doesn't think so either. Mclaren have not given Hamilton a Championship winning car in a few years. Either it's quick in qualifying and off the pace in the races or vice-versa. It would have been nice to see Hamilton and Alonso in equal or identical equipment again, not just necessarily battling it out for the Championship or race wins, but also battling out with each other, what ever position they are in the race. What fascinates or impresses me most about those two is that even when they are not winning races, leading the championship etc, they still consider themselves as their main threat. I'm also impressed that as tense as the atmosphere was in 2007, I can't recall them ever taking each other out in a race or at least one person costing the other a win or a position. They defined the 2007 season with all the craziness. Kimi won the title, by the way :-). But it's almost certain Hamilton will remain in Mclaren.

  • Comment number 80.

    The main problem at McLaren is Martin Whitmarsh. Since he has taken over the team has gone backwards. His decision making, team belief, press statements are awful with too many excuses given for what can only be poor judgement and handling from a man out of his depth. Hamilton has become frustrated it is clear to see. Button must be close also. Two world champions, who could easily win more but I can't see it being with McLaren with the current set up. Red Bull have come along and set themselves up as a front runner in F1 in a short space of time. They have the best designer and in my eyes one of the best team bosses, only bettered by Ross Braun.

    Come on McLaren, do what is right. Get rid of what is keeping you back and you never know, you may even keep the two world class drivers that you have and win more championships.

  • Comment number 81.

    Would it hurt F1 if Hamilton moved on? Not one bit.

    Maybe he should take on the best current British driver, Dario Franchitti in IndyCar racing...

    ... or perhaps tackling Juan [Pablo] Montoya in NASCAR is more his natural level.....

  • Comment number 82.

    @79, Arsenal_Fever wrote:

    "I think people who think Hamilton is over-rated are people who don't like his Hollywood image."

    I don't blame him, but I could do without broadcasters' obsession with showing us his inamorata all the time - I watch the race to see racing, that is cars on track.

    But at least he hasn't [yet] gone so far as Jenson Button on one memorable occasion [back when he was an also-ran at Honda - or was it far enough in the past to have been BAR?] when he agreed to give an interview to ITV f1 ONLY if they played his girlfriend's pop video in full....

  • Comment number 83.

    According to Andrew if Lewis went to Ferrari he would feel alienated, oh you mean like Alonso at Mclaren in 2007?
    I have no sympathy for this overated, petulant boy, "he has made his bed at Mclaren, now he must sleep in it."

  • Comment number 84.


    "But at least he hasn't [yet] gone so far as Jenson Button on one memorable occasion [back when he was an also-ran at Honda - or was it far enough in the past to have been BAR?] when he agreed to give an interview to ITV f1 ONLY if they played his girlfriend's pop video in full...."

    Jenson Button did that??

  • Comment number 85.

    Excellent, well argued blog.

    But #3 'they clearly treat him like a no2,but unlike ferrari and rb at least they have the bottle to do it in public ....why does your pitstop take 4.3 seconds and a jensons 3.7' etc etc...

    Yes, obviously they deliberately keep LH in the pits an extra second, just to...erm... well what exactly? And Jenson's wheel coming off as he left the pits.. well that was meant to happen on LH's car but the mechanics didn't recognise the driver, (it is so hard telling them apart, almost identical twins...) and sabotaged the wrong car?

    Ye gods. Your life must be brilliant, being able to live in fantasy land and whatever you choose to dream up just becomes true. How is your wife these days - what's her name, Cheryl Cole or something... ;-)

  • Comment number 86.

    Lewis is brilliant at dragging slower cars above the faster ones, as is Alonso.
    Better than schumacher did imo, as Michael rarely drove a poor car (1 race with Jordan) or had poor team work. THe Benetton and later Ferrari staff were exceptional at strategy.

  • Comment number 87.

    Put lewis in a red bull or ferrari,and he would beat his team mate vettel or alonso every day of the week,no other driver is like him and he gets the absolute maximum out of that lacking mclaren every quali and race.He has to go to red bull!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 88.

    Thought provoking article! But where is the weakness in F1 team line ups most likely?

    Ferrari should bin Massa, leaving room for DiResta or similar, with Force India replacing him with what they want, which is an Indian driver (Karti-wossisname, for example) - so no seats for hamilton at Ferrari.

    Will Kimi stay? or will a seat appear at renault?
    And Williams need to bin Senna.

    I can't imagine red bull changing their line up.

    Anyway, the renault engines are notably amongst the strongest in F1 and overall the renault engine cars are let down to some extend by their drivers - so for me, Hamiltons only choices may be Renault or Williams. I'd really like to see Hamilton in the Williams.................

  • Comment number 89.

    Not supposed to be saying this but here are a couple of nailed on moves for the future:

    Rosberg and Massa seat swap.
    Schumacher retires
    Di Resta joins Mercedes

    McLaren and Red Bull remain same.

    You can basically forget about Lewis going anywhere. Nowhere for him to go, Rosberg is nailed on for Massa's seat and Di Resta is nailed on for the berth that Rosberg is leaving.

    And before anyone mentions "yhea but so and so is contracted until...." be aware that contracts are not worth the paper and ink used to print them, plus I have contacts so I'm not arguing about it.

  • Comment number 90.

    @84, Arsenal_Fever wrote:

    "But at least he hasn't [yet] gone so far as Jenson Button on one memorable occasion [back when he was an also-ran at Honda - or was it far enough in the past to have been BAR?] when he agreed to give an interview to ITV f1 ONLY if they played his girlfriend's pop video in full...."

    Jenson Button did that??



    Although she was a fair-enough singer, Louise Griffiths didn't even have a record deal at the time - but she did have a boyfriend who was rich enough to indulge her whims (and I think ITV's music people helped out, but that might be my memory playing tricks).

    Even at the time, comparisons were made with the Beckhams - David subsidising his wife's 'failed' singing career (forever to be known as the only Spice Girl not to have solo Number One).

  • Comment number 91.

    I think Hamilton needs to leave at the end of this season, as otherwise he risks always waiting to see how another season pans out before making a decision and leaving that decision too long.

    It has taken some years for Hamilton and Alonso to develop the mutual respect that they have now however there is still no way that they can drive in the same team. They both perform better as number one drivers. I think Hamilton not being the clear number one at Mclaren in the last couple of years has not suited him.

    Mercedes would need to prove performance potential over the coming few races to become a possibility for Hamilton. I don't think they are quite there yet although they are certainly on the right track.

    I am not convinced that Red Bull would risk upsetting the status quo with bringing in another strong driver to compete alongside Vettel. Webber, whether he likes it or not, is quite clearly no.2 at Red Bull following last years performance.

    Finally, very premature talking about Button's so called demise. He has only had a bad three races. He may go on to win Canada and all will be forgotten. Remember it is a very long season.

    Still want to see Hamilton win it though...

  • Comment number 92.

    Lewis will stay, but what about Whitmarsh or Michaels?

    Who makes the big decisions at Woking?

  • Comment number 93.

    @ Adam Grimsdale et al…just trolls

    To put it simply, Hamilton is Mclarens only hope of winning the WDC. With such a tight field you cannot afford for your drivers to have off days. Hamilton, Alonso & Vettel are exceptionally talented and are widely regarded as the most elite pilots in F1 at this moment.

    Despite Mclaren’s plethora of operational mishaps, such a thing as allowing Hamilton to depart is inconceivable and ultimately will consign them further into the wilderness of underachievers.

    Jenson a top driver he may be is no Lewis Hamilton.

  • Comment number 94.

    #86 Happy..

    'Lewis is brilliant at dragging slower cars above the faster ones, as is Alonso.
    Better than schumacher did imo, as Michael rarely drove a poor car (1 race with Jordan) or had poor team work. THe Benetton and later Ferrari staff were exceptional at strategy.'

    Just thought I'd repost that, as couldn't have put it better or fairer than myself. Any of the top 7 or 8 drivers can win if given the best car, they are all exceptional drivers - the current crop is one of the best we have had for years. But those two are probably the only ones who you would want to back to win even if they weren't.

  • Comment number 95.

    Why on earth is Hamilton in the 20 greatest drivers of all time list compiled by the ever biased BBC ? He has won 1 world championship and even then he was extremely lucky, Hamilton is the most over rated F1 driver of the last 20 years, he is not the fastest in the world (as you seem to think) the guy is not even the fastest Englishman in F1, for consistency, knowledge and reliability i would have Button in my team before Hamilton any day of the week.

  • Comment number 96.

    89.At 11:51 29th May 2012, Riggadon wrote:
    Not supposed to be saying this but here are a couple of nailed on moves for the future:

    Rosberg and Massa seat swap.
    Schumacher retires
    Di Resta joins Mercedes

    McLaren and Red Bull remain same.

    Massa and Di Resta at Mercedes?!! No way Mercedes would take on a driver coming to the end of his career with a driver who is performing well but hasnt quite yet proven himself.

    If Di Resta was to join Mercedes then I think he would make a good partner to Hamilton. Massa I think is bound for a lower team, unless he can carry on his Monaco form and prove that he is back on track.

  • Comment number 97.

    81. At 11:23 29th May 2012, Strange But True wrote:
    Would it hurt F1 if Hamilton moved on? Not one bit.

    Maybe he should take on the best current British driver, Dario Franchitti in IndyCar racing...

    ... or perhaps tackling Juan [Pablo] Montoya in NASCAR is more his natural level.....
    You can read between the lines of posts like this and see whats going on in the minds of the Hamilton hater.

    The fact is if Hamilton moved on genuine fans of racing would be gutted. The Hamilton haters would be jubilant as their hatred for Hamilton is greater than the pleasure they get from seeing some of his amazing racing.

    Nothing would please the haters more than to see Lewis leave the sport and I'm sure that feeling is echoed by the stewards (or the person of influence that is getting the stewards to come down much harder on Hamilton than other drivers).

    The better Hamilton does, the worse the haters feel and that feeling is compounded by how Button is doing currently.

  • Comment number 98.

    Reading some of these comments makes me wonder if some of you are fans of the sport. Some things are clear: Alonso and Hamilton, of the current crop of drivers, are capable of making a bad car do well. Every team that could afford Hamilton would want him, to say otherwise is faintly stupid. I didn't hear him moan at the weekend, I heard him query some very dubious behaviour from his team. One, he was asked to change his clutch settings, which he did. Then had no traction. He asked why he wasn't informed of the chance Vettel would jump him, as he was conserving his tyres. Then things were falling from the Pit lane gantry, on to him. No of that is moaning. It's asking the correct questions of his team, a team that has let his undoubted skill down. One blog I would like to see, is discussing how Button can be 6-0 down in qualifying, and 4-2 in race places, to a man who's been so unfortunate this year. He had the clutch issue in Australia too remember.

    Now for his options. Ferrari? No chance, although I can see him being there in 2016. Red Bull? Absolutely, especially for next year. Mercedes? Absolutely. Slowly building into a team capable of a shot at the title next year, which was their business plan. I genuinely don't know where he'll end up, honestly don't. I think Button seemingly being treated as a their #1 will have soured the relationship with Mclaren. Could be one of 3 teams. Lotus? No chance. Not unless Renault buy back into it as a factory team, which is what RBR is looking more and more like.

    I am starting to think if Button cant sort his life out, that he'll be bought out and replaced in 2013 if Hamilton stays there. He really is starting to look like the concrete bollard he was likened to. No one should start a race 13 places in front of his team mate and finish behind, in the same car, in a dry race with no incident. No one.

  • Comment number 99.

    Very interesting blog which covers the fact that the driver and the manufacturer have to gain from the deal.

    For Lewis:

    Is money that much of a factor? with his salary and sponsorship deals he will have earnt enough already, and even if McLaren can't offer as much as Red Bull or Ferrari he will still be on a pretty penny

    It is quiet obvious that he wants a car that performs so he can be competitive, with his background and upbringing in the sport he will be quite disappointed to only have won 1 drivers title by the age of 27


    Lewis' commercial potential is huge, young, good looking, exciting driver will send the eyes of the Directors wild with £££££

    However , Ferrari will not risk upsetting Alonso by bringing Hamilton in, they will take an understudy as suggested so will be either Webber or Rosberg

    Mercedes are still up and coming and perhaps have not shown enough improvement yet to persuade Lewis that they are a long term viable option

    Red Bull are the only one in terms of what Lewis wants that is a fit if he is to move, but will they want to upset Vettel, even if he might leave in 2014?? And if he is winning world titles why would Vettel leave RB?????

    Smart Money would be that he maybe signs a 2 year deal with McLaren and then see what happens with RB and with the improvement of Mercedes.

  • Comment number 100.

    I am starting to think if Button cant sort his life out, that he'll be bought out and replaced in 2013 if Hamilton stays there. He really is starting to look like the concrete bollard he was likened to. No one should start a race 13 places in front of his team mate and finish behind, in the same car, in a dry race with no incident. No one.




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