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Lewis Hamilton move would not be a huge surprise

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Andrew Benson | 17:34 UK time, Wednesday, 5 September 2012

If Lewis Hamilton does move to Mercedes from McLaren for next season, as Eddie Jordan believes he will, it would be a massive shock but not a huge surprise.

There has appeared no urgency from either Hamilton or McLaren to sort out a new contract for 2013 and at the same time there have been signs of unease in the relationship.

The 27-year-old's management team have approached all the big teams this summer and they got short shrift from Red Bull and Ferrari.

Mercedes's reaction has been warmer, and negotiations are known to have taken place, but the issue is complicated by Michael Schumacher's situation.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of leaving Mclaren to drive for Mercedes next season. Photo: Getty

Schumacher has not exactly been setting the world on fire this season, with the notable exception of qualifying fastest in Monaco, but at the same time Mercedes cannot be seen to be sacking him because of his status, particularly in Germany.

The German legend is of huge promotional value to Mercedes but the company is split on whether he should continue.

From a marketing point of view, he is a dream - and as he is considered untouchable in Germany any decision to move aside must appear to have come from him.

But those who see the F1 programme from a performance point of view would rather Schumacher stepped down and made way for someone younger and faster.

If they can replace him with someone of the highest calibre - someone such as Hamilton, for example - then that helps, too, as the decision is more easily understandable.

And it is clear after an increasingly uncompetitive season that the team could benefit from employing Hamilton, who is one of F1's 'big three' alongside Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, neither of whom are available.

The attraction Mercedes might have to Hamilton is less clear, given their current struggles, but perhaps the continuing frustrations of his time at McLaren have convinced him it is time for a change.

McLaren struggled by their own high standards in 2009-11, during which time Hamilton did not have a car competitive enough to mount a full-on title challenge.

They came closest in 2010, but it was always a battle against the generally faster Red Bull and Ferrari.

And although McLaren started this season with the fastest car - and have it again after a brief mid-season dip in form - operational errors earlier in the season hit Hamilton's title bid.

Money may well also be an important factor. Hamilton made some cryptic comments in Belgium last weekend about his future move being a "business decision".

Equally, there have been signs of friction between him and McLaren.

In certain quarters of the team, they are uncomfortable about Hamilton's approach to his job and his mindset. And the disconnect was made public this weekend with his ill-advised behaviour on the social networking site Twitter, on which he posted a picture of confidential team telemetry.

Where does that all leave McLaren, Mercedes and Hamilton? Time will tell.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Why should McLaren retain a maverick as their number two driver of last season?

  • Comment number 2.

    Yes retain a maverick as a number one driver, but not a number two driver!

  • Comment number 3.

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

  • Comment number 4.

    he has a management team who are realy aimed at the pop culture and are only interested in high end returns so being shooed away by ferrari and red bull would have made them want to deal with mercedes but to be honest its to promote hamilton more to the world and has nothing to do with his driving.
    to be honest hamilton has shot himself in the foot in recent times with his twitters and his attitude i dont think many top teams would want the hastle.

  • Comment number 5.

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

  • Comment number 6.

    Ian couldn't of put it better myself! He'll definitely be appreciated far more somewhere else. McLaren won't know what they've lost till its too late

  • Comment number 7.

    Even though i don't think Hamilton has an attitude problem, but lets say that he has, didn't Alonso do the same thing back in 2007, look where he is now...

  • Comment number 8.

    Posturing is all, I'm sure of it.

  • Comment number 9.

    Not sure if this is a good idea or not? It seems he has outgrown McLaren & as he has been there all these years maybe it is time he moved on.

    Question is tho who would replace him there?

    Regarding Schumacher it would be ashame to see him go again especially after a lack luster 3 years... Maybe he should go to Ferrari for a year to replace Massa.... now that would be entertaining

  • Comment number 10.

    @7 One could suggest Mclaren and Hamilton had an attitude problem in 2007 towards Fernando Alonso. It was highly obvious that RD favoured his protege who was more than happy to assume the role of go-getter. Hamilton should join Caterham, HRT or Marussia. Less column inches about this arrogant and spoiled brat will be good for the sport

  • Comment number 11.

    I hope he stays at McLaren. I hope the issues get worked out for both parties. Going to Mercedes, when they haven't shown that they can produce a winning car seems like a step backward - a really big step backward.

    The company has so many questions about it's future as a constructor in F1 - at least I do recall seeing articles about this earlier this year.

    Lewis was doing good until this recent Twitter crap, I don't understand what he was thinking with that. It had to crush his negotiations at McLaren...

  • Comment number 12.

    Would be interesting to see how he is in a different team. With regard to his recent behaviour, Haug and Brawn have been around the block and Brawn has dealt with many egos in the past, had no hesitation putting Barrichello in line. Hamilton will definitely be on a much tighter lead in a team with those 2 in charge of him. Brawn and Schumacher will have instilled their Ferrari team philosophy there and he won't want someone rocking that boat. They win and lose as a team.

    Given where Mercedes currently are you'd have to say it's a move where Hamilton will be looking at the long term. It might take Mercedes another season or 2 to get onto Ferrari and Red Bull but it could work out well in a few years.

  • Comment number 13.

    @ weenson
    You come up with these arrogant and spoiled brat traits supposedly of Hamilton but when has he demonstrated them?

    so so much hate..., truly why do u so dislike the man?

  • Comment number 14.

    I know McLaren haven't had the best of times recently but why would he leave to go to a much slower team? Mercedes are not very fast and show no real signs of becoming consistently fast. Even Rosberg is struggling there now.

  • Comment number 15.

    If Hamilton had been with Red Bull or Ferrari when he posted confidential telemetry information he would have been fired. He must have known how disloyal he was being to the team that nurtured him from childhood. A move to Mercedes - and a taste of German discipline - would be good for him. I've always been a fan of Hamilton but not for his personality.

  • Comment number 16.

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

  • Comment number 17.

    Here is a somewhat befudling and head-scratching line from Andrew Benson in regards to Hamilton's rumoured move to Mercedes:

    "it would be a massive shock but not a huge surprise". Think of this sentence. I always thought surprise invariably supercedes shock. Furrthermore, the degree of surpise is directly proportional the level of shock that follows. Thus, a "massive shock" must be preceeded by a "huge surprise', granted "massive" and "huge' are equally interchangeable synonyms. A surprise lasts the most brief moments triggered by the exprience of the unexpected. It is then followed by shock, which tends to last much longer. Can you be shocked, without first becomming surprised? Just think about it.

  • Comment number 18.

    To be honest I don't see how Hamilton can benefit from this move if it happens. Red Bull have Vettel, Ferrari have Alonso, Lotus have Raikonnen and Mercedes are groomming Rosberg... I can't see Hamilton coming in and becoming number one. I mean, it's an open secret that Schumacher holds Rosberg back with his inflated ego...

    Teams next season should be:

    Red Bull - Vettel & Webber
    Ferrari - Alonso & Perez
    Lotus - Raikonnen & Hamilton
    McLaren - Button & Di Resta
    Mercedes - Rosberg & Hulkenberg

    But it won't end up so...

  • Comment number 19.

    There's no way he is leaving McLaren - he's just shopping around. Moving to a slower team, even if they are a bigger brand isn't something he's going to do.

  • Comment number 20.

    I hope he moves to a team that is capable of winning races.

    I don't know why some journalists seem to think Ferrari is a no-no. If Hamilton was to join Ferrari, they would have the two best drivers in F1 in one team. That would mean championships rolling in as well as increased publicity (which would appeal to more sponsors, hence greater revenue). I do not buy the argument that Alonso has "vetoed" it and the team is therefore willing to throw this away just to pacify their current no.1 driver.

  • Comment number 21.

    Time for him to move on having been at McLaren for so long. He still shows flashes of brilliance, for sure but my overwhelming view is one of a racer somewhat frustrated & pre-occupied over the past couple of seasons; a driver used to winning & having a team set up around him (much like Michael throughout his glory days at Benetton & Ferrari). The truth of it is that he's been eclipsed by the likes of Seb Vettel, Alonso & a rejuvenated (and much more mature) Jenson. I also get the impression that JB is...shall we say...a better ambassador for the team while possessing at least equal talent, skill and pace as his team mate. He's also more likely to bring the car home.
    Lewis is undeniably an exciting & extremely quick driver. But his passion spills over into a certain arrogance occasionally, and frankly he brings some of it...not all...on himself. Too many mistakes & incidents & very rarely does he shoulder responsibility when he's at fault. Some of his post-race interviews in such cases are painful to observe, bordering on petulance.
    In his defence, on his day he is untouchable & his driving is not only rapid & aggressive, but cerebral too.
    I'd love to see what he can do with another team; to see if he can re-capture the form of 2007 / 2008. Mercedes is a fit, but what about Lotus? A straight swap with Kimi? Stranger things have happened! There is Mercedes, of course but one could argue that Nico is in a weaker position than Michael, regardless of the current standings. Michael is box office in Germany and I can see him staying for the final year of his deal. A Schuey / Lewis combo would be very interesting!
    And for the 'vacant' berth at McLaren? Factoring in the new crop of chargers and if...IF...Lewis moves on, I'd love to see PDR, Hulkenberg, Perez or Kamui in the car - hard charging young talent clearly better than the cars they're in at present.
    Anyway, who knows? Maybe Bernie, maybe EJ.
    Or maybe it is "as you were"....

  • Comment number 22.

    It won't be a big surprise but at the same time, McLaren is the best option for Hamilton. He has been there his whole F1 career and scored at least two victories a season. He has one of the best cars on the grid at the moment and if you compare that with the inconsistent Mercedes, who have been the biggest disappointment of 2012, Hamilton should stay with McLaren from a career point of view. The main reason he would go to Mercedes is because of a bigger salary. He needs to really think it through but it will probably depend on Schumacher's decision. The longer we wait, the more we can speculate.

  • Comment number 23.

    Why would Schumacher leave now just as mercedes are getting things right?

  • Comment number 24.

    ..and good luck Mercedes. German discipline, if applied will have him crying for his Mother. McLaren is unlikely to miss him.

  • Comment number 25.

    A lot of people on here have their blinkers on in regards to Hamilton. If you take them off you will see that this won't be a step back.

    These are the reasons.

    1: McLaren will have to pay Mercedes for their engines. This will need to find this extra money which means they will have to cut back on their car development. Williams have found this to their cost too.

    2: Ross Brawn

    3: Mercedes have the money to develop their car

    4: Mercedes make less mistakes McLaren

    5: You know Ross Brawn will call the right shots in the race to create a win. How many people really expect Withmarsh(?) can do this

    6: McLaren needs LH more than he needs them - proof why McLaren have not sacked LH for his tweets / posting of information. They know they need LH to win and he is the best person available out there. So they need him

  • Comment number 26.

    I mean this in the nicest possible way, but this article is idiotic. You will be left embarrassed when quite the opposite happens and is announced in a few weeks time. Every indication is that Lewis and Michael will remain where they are. You need to study the drivers and conduct more research surrounding them, Andrew. Bild is an extremely reliably German newspaper that, like everyone else in Germany' is obsessed with Michael and has the best sources regarding his news. There is every indication that he will be signing for BEYOND 2013. 1/10 = see me, letter sent to parents!

  • Comment number 27.

    In my Opinion, I think a move will be good for Hamilton. McLaren as it is presently constituted cannot provide an enabling environment to win a second title. A new place always provides new motivation. Moreover, remember that Mercedes have won the title before. Having a somewhat slow car this season does not mean that they cannot improve. Watch out for Mercedes next season.

  • Comment number 28.

    If Hamilton moves to Mercedes I can't really imagine him getting another chance to be world champion. They don't seem to be anywhere near the front or seem likely to be getting any closer. The trouble is that doesn't seem to motivate him anymore. He seem's more motivated by his social standing than his standing in the championship. He's still got the talent, no doubt, he's just lacking the motivation. But what do you expect with entertainment industry management?
    If he does move, it would be interesting to see who Mclaren would replace him with. I don't think Kimi would move, he seems comfortable at Lotus and that's all that really matters to him now. In my opinion Paul di Resta is very overrated, he's nowhere near as good as the BBC like to make out. Hulkenburg would be a good choice, he's doing well this year and did well in his first season, Glock would be a solid choice, Maldonado would be a risk, but he definitely has speed and then there's Massa, who maybe in a different team could once again challenge at the front.
    It'll certainly be interesting to see it all unfold.

  • Comment number 29.

    I think there's a chance that Lewis will go but it certainly won't be for motor racing reasons. He may go for more money; he may go for better global exposure and he may go because his huge ego can't accept that nobody else wants him and McLaren is his only choice. For a man who thinks he is the best driver in the world, he can't be happy that Ferrari turned him down and Red Bull preferred to stay with Webber! No doubt Hamilton will try to pass it off as a belief in Brawn and the great heritage of Mercedes but the reality is that he is a bit of a prima donna who can't cope with the idea that other teams aren't falling over themselves to sign him and can't cope with the idea that last year he was beaten by Button.

    If I was McLaren, I'd offer Hamilton a decent deal because although I think he's a spoilt brat, I think he's a very fast and talented spoilt brat. However, if he didn't take the offer I put on the table, I'd let him walk and get someone else. There are a few very good prospects such as Perez, Kobayashi, Hulkenberg and Raikkonen, all of whom have great speed and most would be quite a bit cheaper. From a fan's point of view, I'd love to see Hamilton dropped by McLaren and then either go to Mercedes and flounder in the mid-field or leave F1 altogether.

  • Comment number 30.

    Hamilton is wrong to go to Mercedes, even if the rumour is true. He is taking a big step backwards, especially if the main reason is for a higher salary as suggested. I think he needs to get rid of this idea that he is a Formula One driver, not a rockstar!

    It's a real shame - I really liked Lewis when he first entered Formula One in 2007, due to his fantastic racing style and aggression on track, (which, don't get me wrong, is still great to watch these days...sometimes)! But like many successful sportsman, he became too big for his boots I think and it shows by how many mistakes he made last year.

    Having said that, the only team that would put up with these issues and being more forgiving is McLaren. Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari etc would I bet not tolerate it, especially after the Twitter business. I'm amazed the team didn't at least give Hamilton any disciplinary action.

    Yes McLaren have had their struggles, but hasn't any team...?! You don't see Jenson throwing his toys out of the pram when something goes wrong. Hamilton simply needs to grow up.

    And about Eddie Jordon, he's an awesome guy but not much of what he says should be taken seriously, it's an unlikely outcome really...but you never know. And I agree with what Andrew says about the move if it did happen.

  • Comment number 31.

    @tiggerthefox clearly you haven't been watching the same season as everyone else! "he's been eclipsed by vettel, alonso and a rejuvinated button"? Alonso is obvious, but vettel and most definately button is a wild statment to make. Jenson has had 2 good races (one of which he was helped by one of many operational problems for lewis that mclaren have made) and the rest of his season has been poor to average at best. And when it comes to vettel, he has been nowhere near what we saw last year when he had the best car by a country mile, and if it wasn't for all of the poor pit stops et al for hamilton, then would be behind him by around 20 point s. So i just don't see where you are coming from.
    I do think it is a risky move and whether anything will actually come from it is highly debateable. I reckon it's probably just a negotiating tool for his management and a bit of pr that isn't to do with twitter. It would be a backward step as of now, but then again it is the same team which won both world champs 3 years ago.
    Hamilton is still one of the top 2 drivers around and he maybe needs a fresh perspective to get back to his best.

  • Comment number 32.

    @20 Let's assume that Alonso hasn't and wouldn't veto Hamilton joining him at Ferrari. I'm not sure that it would mean "championships rolling in" because, assuming that the Ferrari is competitive, Alonso and Hamilton would be taking points off each other allowing the likes of Red Bull to possibly pinch the championship. Of course if one or other was significantly ahead in the drivers' standings they could employ team orders....but how likely is it that Alonso or Hamilton would accept that?
    Both drivers have stated their respect and admiration for the other, but I don't think that goes as far as wanting to be team-mates again; for one thing it would mean one of them having to acknowledge that they are not as good as the other...unless the unlikely situation of them finishing on the same number of points were to occur.

  • Comment number 33.

    "Schumacher has not exactly been setting the world on fire this season, with the notable exception of qualifying fastest in Monaco, but at the same time Mercedes cannot be seen to be sacking him because of his status, particularly in Germany."

    This is outrageously biased, and you cannot hind behind the veil of a a blog excuse for that. You are an absolute joke in your bias. It's been known since forever that they want to talk to him before anyone else. You have also said in other articles that you've found him competitive this season.

  • Comment number 34.

    I don´t understand. The news of Hamilton moving to Mercedes it´s as fact or it´s what a particular reporter believes? The BBC can´t print as news something that one person believes!!! Where is the fact check?

  • Comment number 35.

    Vettel and Alonso won't have Hamilton as their team mate because they both know he is faster than them. FACT.

    Hence why Ferrari and Red Bull will have slower number 2 drivers aka Webber

  • Comment number 36.

    McClaren should just end Hamilton contract and take Raaikonen

  • Comment number 37.

    Andrew Benson on Sunday about Hamilton "He is out of contract at the end of the year and approaches made by his management team to other leading teams Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes have been rebuffed."

    Andrew Benson today "he 27-year-old's management team have approached all the big teams this summer and they got short shrift from Red Bull and Ferrari. Mercedes's reaction has been warmer"

    Andrew Benson Article Checklist

    1) Include a few shreds of news
    2) Include "senior insider" quotes which are almost always wrong.
    3) Have a dig at Michael Schumacher(doesn't matter if it even makes any sense or not)
    4) Declare unending love for Fernando ALonso at every opportunity.
    4) Don't forget to put F1 chief at the top of the article.

  • Comment number 38.

    @37 I believe the love in for Alonso only started this year, after the voting which put Vettel higher on the all time greatest list ha ha. But your points are so true, Benson has just changed his tune from the weekend to today.

    If it is true Hamilton shot himself in the foot by saying Red bull were just a drinks company. I wonder how much he wishes he could take that comment back, maybe webber would be at Ferrari next year and Lewis at Red Bull instead.

  • Comment number 39.

    I wonder if that would be the MAIN reason for Lewis wanting his trophies from Mclarens cabinet. Can`t blame him. In 2007 he broke loads of records then the mindset, money and fame has appeared to get to his driving. If he moves to Mercedes I for one wish him luck-he`s done well this year with what he was given. 2012 was a year others took him out!

  • Comment number 40.

    So let me get this straight - the guy who looks like he's been dragged through a hedge backwards with a badger hanging out of his mouth seems to think that Hamilton is going to Mercedes. Must be true then...

  • Comment number 41.

    I think Lewis will move. There might some potential deals behind the scenes and Paul Di Resta who is a 'Mercedes' driver might end up in the McLaren seat. Alternatively a driver from the younger driver programme like the Dane Kevin Magnussen could be promoted. A calmer McLaren garage might benefit the team

  • Comment number 42.

    Absolute joke, Benson. Showing typical BBC bias against Schumacher, and reporting Eddie Jordan's shaky sources as bona-fide fact. Schumacher has outraced Rosberg in 75% of the races where they have both reached the chequered flag this season. If anything, he's proved this year that he's still got it. You basically report that Mercedes, if their hands weren't bound by the German public, would want rid of him. The truth, I suspect, is something vastly different.

  • Comment number 43.

    "they got short shrift from Red Bull and Ferrari"

    source? evidence? made it up? assumption? artistic license?

    classic Benson

  • Comment number 44.

    Just had the silliest of thoughts regarding Michael Schumacher-didn`t Bernie just say `leaving` not `retirering`! How`s about him going to Ferrari to replace Massa?
    Alonzo would love a spat with him again.

  • Comment number 45.

    Mercedes problem isnt Schumacher its the car. The very idea that they would get rid of Scumacher and replace him with a driver who still lacks maturity is silly to say the least. the only way i could see Lewis at mercedes is with schumacher still there. Lewis would benefit and so would schumacher. experience with enthusiasm. be pretty unstopable.

  • Comment number 46.

    HA HAAA, it is about time lewis goes to another team. TO HAVE PEACE OF MIND is most important priority for lewis. Mclaren, withmarsh and Ron dennis are all against Lewis trying everything to frustrate lewis by messing up his races and his driving mood. So why would he stay.GO LEWIS DON'T LOOK BACK.
    When a driver is not 100% focused is very dangerous to him and other drivers. What they have done to lewis is intolerable.I hope sponsors wil see this unfairness and go with lewis.

  • Comment number 47.

    @37 I love reading things like this as it shows benson's bias.

  • Comment number 48.

    Lewis leaving will be a big shock but not a huge surprise? A contradiction in terms surely?
    I'm not sure how much credibility this story has given Lewis's people have confirmed it's untrue, at least publicly anyway.
    It must also be considered this could be an attempt by XIX entertainment to place pressure on Mclaren to increase their financial offer to Lewis.
    I really can't believe Lewis feels this will be a better move for him in terms of car performance.
    Even the thought of earning extra cash at Mercedes surely won't temper the frustration and disillusionment he has displayed when his Mclaren has been uncompetitive?
    As for Mclaren's unhappiness, in some quarters, with his attitude and mindset, it must be said they have hardly contributed to driver/team harmony.
    The pit stop gaffs, not putting enough fuel in his car in Spain and poor strategy calls have not helped.
    Regardless of the tantrums, attitude or mindset, Lewis Hamilton is a top draw talent that will win Mclaren championships if they produce a competitive car.
    He is a driver capable of extracting every ounce of performance from his car in every free practice, qualifying session or race. Can the same truly be said of Button?

  • Comment number 49.

    i think hamilton has to move on. mclaren have no technical innovations or revamps eg RB,Mercedes.they don't have that creative spark i don't know who they employ behind the scenes but i think it needs a radical overhaul to be chasing titles like rb,Ferrari and Mercedes,as they will win titles they have Ross and massive financial power.they seem to be constructing the exit of Lewis from as far back as late 2008,Brazil they gave him the wrong calls,2009 the lie gate was the teams fault 100%,the constant errors in the pit lane and the pit wall on the important and basic moments.the team i think cannot afford him and will have to buy merc engines which will hurt them and if Hamilton leaves he brings the sponsors and team income with him.

    who would mclaren get to replace him,Kamui,he is a more error prone,less brilliant version of Hamilton.Di resta he is Hamiltons age and i think doesn't even have that spark of a very good driver(eg the webbers,button,(before accident) massa bracket).hulkenburg seems the best bet,but mclaren really ?

    but it is clear the team are favoring button and in truth he probably cant believe his luck that they are favoring him in almost every department.mclaren have gone off the rails ever since ron dennis left tbh,whitmarsh doesnt seem up to the job

  • Comment number 50.

    A cloud will lift from McLaren and land over Mercedes, love to see what Rosberg thinks about this and Monza is now waiting for EJ to ask all the questions we are. Bet he'll have the drivers and team bosses running!

  • Comment number 51.

    I can't really see Mercedes being more competitive than McLaren next year - and the former has had an even bigger dip in form than the latter. I'm sure Lewis would get more money in the short term, but an uncompetitive season would damage his reputation as well as his motivation.

  • Comment number 52.

    Absolutely no factual basis for this speculative article. It must have been written purely to provoke comments comments - when a move has been announced then is the right time for a "respectable" reporter to start a blog about it

  • Comment number 53.

    I know its a little heavy but it speaks to all these comments. LH

    “Though the colored man is no longer subject to barter and sale, he is surrounded by an adverse settlement which fetters all his movements. In his downward course he meets with no resistance, but his course upward is resented and resisted at every step of his progress. If he comes in ignorance, rags and wretchedness, he conforms to the popular belief of his character, and in that character he is welcome; but if he shall come as a gentleman, a scholar and a statesman, he is hailed as a contradiction to the national faith concerning his race, and his coming is resented as impudence. In one case he may provoke contempt and derision, but in the other he is an affront to pride and provokes malice.”

    I know its a little heavy but it speaks to all these comments. LH

  • Comment number 54.

    I hope he does move, it'll just make everything more interesting all down the scale. He causes controversy, he's spoilt, he's exciting. I don't particularly like him, but I do like how he divides opinion. He's like Pastor Maldonado, except he can drive.

  • Comment number 55.

    @31 billcarson3 I've been watching F1 for more years than I care to remember. Probably like you. My comments were based over the past 3 seasons, during which JB in what became the Mercedes team in Brawn & Vettel in Newey's Red Bulls won championships while Lewis failed to continue his trajectory from '07 & his title year in '08. Others moved on relative to him, and that is my reference to him being eclipsed. JB was a busted flush at Honda, and where is he now? I certainly don't subscribe to the view that Lewis is a better driver than Jenson - they just have different styles and skill sets.
    Lewis needs a change of environment to refresh his undoubted ability in my view. I'm not criticising him for its own sake - indeed I looked at his attributes in balance to his faults; faults which mainly relate to his demeanour outside the cockpit.
    The fact is that F1 moves in cycles - major teams dominate for a period before falling back into mediocrity for a while. So the argument about one car being the class of the field versus its rivals is a tad disingenuous. Remember Senna's '93 McLaren? The driver made the difference.
    Accidents, poor pit work & car failures affect most drivers at various stages of any given season and it is all part of the sport.
    Drivers are hired / fired / traded for various reasons based on a number of factors. My central point was that I believe Hamilton may be best served by moving teams - after all, he has only known McLaren & I suspect his relative lack of success over the past 3.5 seasons has as much to do with Ron Dennis not running the race team as anything else.
    Lewis needs to get back to basics, to ditch the Hollywood trappings, the superstar yadda yadda & the moaning when it goes wrong and do what he does to win, with controlled aggression & flair. Whether he genuinely is one of the 2 best drivers in F1 is also subjective, but the acid test is to see how he performs relative to his team mate and other top drivers when not in a car designed and built in Woking.
    Whether he moves or not; whether Schuey steps down or not, or any one of a number of other factors affecting who drives where and why, one thing is for keeps us talking about it.
    Finally. F1's most complete driver right now in my view?

  • Comment number 56.

    What has McLaren won since 2000?
    I was disappointed in Hamilton unprofessional tweet. But surprise at the content of the tweet on how Jason’s car can be 1 second faster than Hamilton’s. Are McLaren trying to blackmail Hamilton into a new contract, by reducing his competitiveness and marketability?

  • Comment number 57.

    There is a lot of comment and divided opinion about being a top driver, with supporters and detractors both. On any given day, with a certain few makes of cars, just about anyone (not all, we all know who they would be) on the grid today could win a GP. This last weekend JB was imperious, which was also said about LH the time before that. I do believe that Lewis has made some fundamental professional errors that seemingly stems from his personality and perception of himself, not his talent, which almost everybody would accept. I agree with a lot of the armchair pundits that McLaren should have given LH some sort of sanction for his recent antics, but every team does need drivers who CAN win races and they have two at the moment. Why move? And ....should we care? The sport is bigger than any one driver and I have loved the sport for 60 years man and boy, having had many 'heroes' and 'favourites'. Sadly, LH isn't one of them, but just my opinion.

  • Comment number 58.

    @56 that's a bit daft!
    Like the boss at any job, the bad attitude of your employees eventually takes its toll! Lewis should stop playing around with his celeb status and concentrate on something he's very very good at, when he wants to be! I used David Beckham as an example in a previous post, he is a super star celeb that is a world wide name but if you ask the majority of people what he is best know for, particularly those who follow sport, they will say his professionalism. He gets/got paid more money then anyone, had a famous celeb girlfriend/wife and the same celeb marketing agency but to this day his main focus is being as good as he can be in the day at football! Lewis should really take example from this! It's in him, but he's not acting as maturely as he thinks he is! Real shame.

  • Comment number 59.

    Watch Lewis in interview and he clearly isn't the same chap as last year, or even 2010. What that is all about, only he will know.

    Is Mercedes really going to offer him a World Championship car? He thinks the grass is greener elsewhere, and I think he will regret this.

    I just wish he got rid of that Svengali Fuller and his whispherings. Quite possibly the worst decision Lewis made was having this team 'manage' him.

  • Comment number 60.

    @58 please control the insults.

    What Lewis does in his private life is none of my business. My interest is in the Sport F1, engineering and drivers performance. Personal jealousy is not in my interest.

  • Comment number 61.

    Lewis to Mercedes leaving a place at McLaren for Paul Di Resta.
    2 GB drivers with the right attitude to racing.

    Bye bye Lewis

  • Comment number 62.

    I can not believe people are comparing The great driver LH with JB. Who is JB we know him from the years.He never shined even in Honda days the great driver shines even in rubbish car like Vettel did. ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE WHO WRITE HERE ENGLISH. Like bbc commentators they don't see the truth what mclaren is doing Lewis. JB because he is English he have to relay on somebody else.

  • Comment number 63.

    If this move to Merc is going to happen it must be the only option left open for LH and his management.

    There is no way from past or current car performance anyone would move to Merc F1 from a top team, currently the team with the fastest car that has won the last two races.

    The McLaren is currently so good, I'm still expecting Lewis, inspired by being so angry with himself and with a point to prove, to challenge Vettel and Alonso for this year's championship.

    If the move is true, this must mean that his position at McLaren is untenable to the team, after his dubious last three years and recent transgressions. He also can't or won't drive for Ferrari or Red Bull, the only other viable options, as they have better drivers in Alonso and Vettel.

    Merc are a company who wanted to pull out of F1 due to poor performance and issues over the new concorde agreements, so has this changed their board's opinion, by signing Lewis, just to go for 'megastar' status because they think he'll sell more road cars internationally? If this is the case then his management are going for money and fame over F1 car performance, effectively making Lewis a 'pay driver' for Merc.

    It's a crazy decision if Lewis wants to win more races. It's as poor as DC's management steering him away from the championship winning 1996 and 1997 Williams. Unless it was Lewis's only option, in which case he'll have to graft away like Alonso in the poor Renault in 08/09 to prove his attitude can improve and get back to a top team.

    Love to see Schumacher back Ferrari next year as Alonso would make him the No2 driver on pure race speed. Though if Schu left then I think Brawn would as well. If Schu sells so many Mercs in Germany they could be considering replacing Rosberg with Lewis, as one win aside he's not done enough these past few years.


  • Comment number 64.

    If the move doesn't happen, I'll expect Eddie Jordan to resign with immediate effect.


  • Comment number 65.

    Blackmailing Hamilton,if they are reducing his competitiveness,surely that would mean he would want to leave.Who is Jason.

  • Comment number 66.

    Everyone saying PDR to Mclaren, if this even actually happens. But I would say Hulkenberg would be a better bet, younger, faster and I don't know why but to me just seems a better driver than Paul. I just can't buy into the DC fed PDR hype, but then again maybe I am completely wrong. But surely Hulkenberg would at least be in the conversation, should've never been dropped at Williams, that was all money.

  • Comment number 67.

    More sensationalism and more apparent ammunition for the Anti Hamilton Brigade to ram down our throats that they don't like the man. Is it really essential for us to be reminded time and time again that "I'm no Hamilton fan etc etc…" Tedious in the extreme and do the rest of us give a damn whom your least favoured driver is?

    Hamilton may have had a 'shocker' in 2011 and made Button – with the best part of 10 years more experience and his 'playboy' years behind him – look good but McLaren really needs to do anything it can to retain a driver who can score more than a solitary pole position in three seasons and who can actually drive the car when it falls below 99% of it's maximum operational capability.

    Jenson may occasionally have a better day than Lewis when the latter is not performing but has Hamilton ever had a single day when he's struggled for pace as dramatically as Jenson does so frequently? I don't remember a single one.

    However, when McLaren appears to mess up pitstops and makes set-up and strategy errors time and again that usually benefit his team-mate, it's no wonder that he's being linked elsewhere.

  • Comment number 68.

    It would be interesting if Hamilton does move to Mercedes. I personally think this is a bad move for LH, sure Mercedes can deliver....sometimes, but I still think McLaren can do more for LH. If it was someone like Ferrari or Red Bull who were thinking taking him on, that would be a whole different story, and better for LH. However, the biggest question I have on my mind, is who (if Hamilton does move) will replace him in McLaren? I wouldn't mind seeing the Senna name back at McLaren, it would be good to see exactly what Bruno can do, and for once be in a good car where high point scoring and podiums are not as challenging to get. It is unlikely that Senna would get a spot at McLaren, but don't you agree it would be good seeing him in one? I think it would.

  • Comment number 69.

    @ 62

    I can't believe that you have contributed to a blog when you cannot even make any sense of what you are writing. Please stop.

    To the rest of the people moaning about the blog and its content not being factual, please try reading the blog again. No where does it state anything about it being a fact that Hamilton is moving. It is a blog on the big story from F1 today. It is based purely on speculation and is designed to get comments on people's opinions about what the move would do for Hamilton if it actually did happen.

    For what it is worth, I think it would be a big step backwards for Hamilton. He is too good a driver to be in a car that uncompetitive.

    I think it is probably a tool designed toget him a better package with McClaren. I just hope it doesn't backfire and end up with them telling him he is welcome to leave.

  • Comment number 70.


     At 20:43 5th Sep 2012, Lempster wrote:@20 Let's assume that Alonso hasn't and wouldn't veto Hamilton joining him at Ferrari. I'm not sure that it would mean "championships rolling in" because, assuming that the Ferrari is competitive, Alonso and Hamilton would be taking points off each other allowing the likes of Red Bull to possibly pinch the championship. Of course if one or other was significantly ahead in the drivers' standings they could employ team orders....but how likely is it that Alonso or Hamilton would accept that?........................

    "Lewis, Fernando is faster than you!"

  • Comment number 71.

    Hamilton is a decent enough driver, but only one of a number currently in F1......certainly not the superstar some of his fans proclaim him to be. Perhaps he needs a change of scenery?

    Considering Button has outscored him since they became team mates, McLaren wouldn't miss Hamilton as much as his more zealous fans appear to think.

    Some of those same fans have stated, on numerous occasions, that there is some kind of conspiracy at McLaren, against their man, so you'd assume they'd be delighted if he went somewhere else?

    McLaren, particularly after the recent "twittergate" & any number of criticisms of his team, engineers & pit crew, hold all the cards.

    His team mate, 5 years his senior, with 7 years more experience of driving for other teams was warned against joining McLaren, as it was seen by many to be Hamilton's team. Despite this advantage, Hamilton has not made this advantage pay.

    If there is any truth to the Mercedes rumor, perhaps Hamilton needs that change of scenery.

    That said, he should be fully aware that the grass isn't always greener. Could it be all about the money? Only he knows what's on offer & what he wants out of it.

  • Comment number 72.

    The problem Lewis seems to have is that he believes that he should have seen much more success than he has done in his time in F1. Hence, he shows his arrogance as some people to call it; personally I don't believe he is so arrogant, just he has a lot of self believe in himself and does not settle for second best. There's nothing wrong with arrogance in a mild form if the ability is there, and it certainly is. Just not consistently, be it Lewis or the team to blame.

    All be it, Mclaren have not been the best team to be with over the past few years, and have certainly been on a bit of a downward spiral since RD departed (who was also much closer to Lewis than lets say MW)

    I would'nt question lewis spending his whole career at Mclaren if the car was competitive, not fastest, but competitive. Ok, he is still rash at times, and makes mistakes, but have we seen him in a car thats consistently faster than his rivals like vettel has had?

    As for the few posts about money being an issue, lets be fair, if they half his wage to £5m, its still a substantial amount of money, and I'm sure that lewis coming from the background he came from would accept a pay cut of 50% or more to be sat in the fastest car, after all, were not on about him being paid peanuts are we?

    He should stay put, give over with social networking, get his head down, chin up and prove that he is one of the best drivers in the world, alongside Alonso, who is the only other driver who seems to be able to draw the best out of a car which is not the quickest on the grid

  • Comment number 73.


     At 22:35 5th Sep 2012, Bungabine

    So why did Sir Alex Ferguson get rid of him at Man United. Because he had started to believe his own publicity & thought he was bigger & better than the team. The parallels are obvious, right down to the same management team angling for a better deal.

  • Comment number 74.

    To Ross Brawn: retain Schumacher for 2013. Unload Niko (too average, too comfortable for too long; no fire - will make an excellent teammate with Jenson Button for they are of the same temperament). Sign Hamilton. This will breathe new life into Schuey and Hamilton will learn unsurpassed F1 race craft & life craft. 2014 sign Nico Hulkenberg or best available talent.

  • Comment number 75.

    @67 "has Hamilton ever had a single day when he's struggled for pace as dramatically as Jenson does so frequently? I don't remember a single one."

    ...Saturday 1st September 2012...

  • Comment number 76.

    @67 "when McLaren appears to mess up pitstops and makes set-up and strategy errors time and again that usually benefit his team-mate"

    I can only imagine how the deluded Hamilton brigade would still be going on and on if it had been Lewis, not Jenson, who had the bungs left in his McLaren sidepods causing his engine to overheat at Monaco, or if it had been Lewis, not Jenson, who had been sent out of the McLaren pit at Silverstone only for his front wheel to fall off.

    The conspiracy amongst them would eclipse the moon landing or JFK assasination theories...

  • Comment number 77.

    No doubt that LH is supremely talented and should be contending for the Championship. However, you can't help but feel that he has lost his way and the relationship with McLaren has soured somewhat. This could just be a bargaining ploy, however a move to Mercedes could be just what he needs to re-ignite his career. And his management team would just love his marketability at Mercedes!

    There are quite a few really good and hungry young drivers about who are more concerned with establishing their careers and could take a leap forwards at McLaren - Perez, Hulk and Maldanado for instance. And how is LH getting on with JB at the moment? Team harmony?!
    He should move on and have a fresh start. Mercedes and Ross Brawn will come good at some point. Good luck if he does, F1 could do with a fully firing LH and not the spoilt brat version we have at the moment. He was a breath of fresh air at one point, not any longer though.

  • Comment number 78.

    I don't know why some journalists seem to think Ferrari is a no-no. If Hamilton was to join Ferrari, they would have the two best drivers in F1 in one team. ... I do not buy the argument that Alonso has "vetoed" it and the team is therefore willing to throw this away just to pacify their current no.1 driver.

    Ferrari are very happy with Alonso & there's no doubt Hamilton arriving would upset him, its just not worth it for them to risk messing up Alonso to add Hamilton, they just want a solid no. 2 for Alonso who can help win constructors championship & maybe pick up a win if Alonso has an off day. Also Ferrari, probably more than most, would dislike some of Hamiltons "lack of judgement" moments.
    Ross Brawn, on the other hand, just maybe might fancy his chances at calming Lewis a bit without slowing him down.

  • Comment number 79.

    Why/how are people harping on about mclaren not giving Lewis the best car? First three races this year McLaren was easily the best car, and at at least 3 or 4 other tracks they've been as strong as other that's 6 or 7 of 11 races where they've had 'the best' car. Or: more than half! Stop deluding yourself that Hamilton is some kind of demi-god and accept the fact that he's human and has made errors this season too. Yeah the team have stuffed up for him: pit-lane mess-ups, awry strategy choices and a decided dip for a couple of races, but Button was still faster in the first couple of races, and beat him fare and square this sat. Just as Lewis destroyed him in can't have it both ways! Besides, what about St Lewis' so-called ability to "drive around a cars problems and still make it competitive"? 

    I for one will be sad to see Lewis leave McLaren; because it's a great story, his having been there since he was young and winning a championship with them; and it's good to see 2 British guys doing well in a British team. But if/when he does go I confess I'll be dead glad to have his insanely-biased-only-been-watching-formula-one-since-2007-paranoid-victim -complex-afflicted fan base that troll every F1 forum on the Internet go whinge about someone else for a change. 

    I can just see it now: Schumi/Rosberg beat Hamilton at the first race next year: it'll be because they were given the better equipment/pit crew/engine set-up/underwear...because they're German and Mercedes don't like Lewis as much because he's English and (I quote from someone else in Benson's previous blog) "not white"...

    (sorry to the genuine Hamilton F1 fans with a shred of common sense and objectivity; I don't mean to tar you all with the same brush!)

  • Comment number 80.

    I would love to spark a debate. If you forget about Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel - also Webber, Scumacher, Button and Raikkonen;

    Who would be the best driver that McLaren could employ to work alongside JB if Lewis were to leave??

  • Comment number 81.

    so what i gather from here is that if Hamilton does choose to leave mclaren that Di Resta should take his spot on the team. do people watch Di Resta at all or are they only jumping on the media bandwagon because he is british? very very very very VERY overrated driver

  • Comment number 82.

    @78 Alonso will not work with Hamilton. Senna vs Prost all over again. Not going to happen.

  • Comment number 83.

    #20 You talk a load of twaddle. Jenson has consistently shown that he is a better driver than Lewis Hamilton. So, how can Hamilton moving to Ferrari give them "the two best drivers in F1 in one team"? Hamilton has only one asset - and that is arguably also his drawback - he takes outrageous risks! It is exciting to watch but, inevitably, results in retirement! On the other hand, Jenson is super reliable, super smooth round the bends, easy on the tyre wear and has the nerve to overtake but ONLY when it isn't suicidal!

  • Comment number 84.

    @79 croftalicious

    Very well said!

  • Comment number 85.

    #80. Blunders wrote:
    I would love to spark a debate. If you forget about Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel - also Webber, Scumacher, Button and Raikkonen;

    Who would be the best driver that McLaren could employ to work alongside JB if Lewis were to leave??


    Out of the current crop of drivers, Heikki Kovalainen. Since leaving McLaren I believe he's benefitted, maturing whilst honing his skills, albeit with Lotus/Caterham further down the grid. He's done well with what is, after all, a fledgling team & would be much better for the experience, were he to return.

    Sergio Perez would be worth a go, of the more recent entries to F1.

  • Comment number 86.

    >>"Jenson may occasionally have a better day than Lewis when the latter is not performing but has Hamilton ever had a single day when he's struggled for pace as dramatically as Jenson does so frequently? I don't remember a single one."

    In the little-over-two-and-a-half seasons Hamilton and Button have raced together in the same car, these are their respective results.

    Hamilton: 584 points, 7 wins, 20 podiums.

    Button: 585 points, 7 wins, 23 podiums.

    People who constantly depict Button as being the tortoise to Hamilton's hare are just being silly.

  • Comment number 87.

    Lewis really has shot himself in the foot (repeatedly) in the last couple of years, a top team is only likely interested in him if they desperately need a top driver (no-one doubts Lewis is very fast, he just seems like too much trouble). If Schumacher leaves Mercedes then thats the position they're in, all the other good options are tied down so they need Lewis & if Lewis wants to move then he needs them & mutual need is often a good basis for success in F1

  • Comment number 88.

    Its quite clear from the comments posted that there is a definite split in which member of the Mclaren team is the better driver. I personally feel that the majority of the time the team itself favours Hamilton as does the press and presenters.

    How I felt for Jensen after his win on sunday when he was told that when martin whitmarsh was asked did the right man win he waffled and said it would have been better if it had been lewis (in not so many words) How to de-moralise a man!
    Jensen always gives an interview no matter how his day goes but LH is often arrogant and sulky if it hasnt gone his way.

    With such a topsy turvey season so far and so many drivers winning who can predict how the season will end
    I for one would love to see a change.

  • Comment number 89.

    @80 the best would be kimi
    but if you are looking for a longer term option then you are looking at perez, hulkenberg or rosberg

  • Comment number 90.

    I'm a big fan of Hamilton as a driver, but disappointed that he so often lets himself down with ill considered comments and actions. Putting telemetry on Twitter was just as about as dumb and disloyal as you can imagine, and I would guess that his weekend antics on social media have probably stretched McLaren's patience to the limit. What a shame though if he goes.

    I'm puzzled as to why Kobayashi's name never gets mentioned for a seat in one of the main three teams. He's a real racer, handles himself well, and represents a part of the world where Ferrari and others have serious market ambitions.

  • Comment number 91.

    A typical BBC comment...There's no reason for Schumacher to leave in the first place. Whenever his car wasn't acting up and letting him down he usually finished in front of Rosberg this year and there's a tie in terms of qualifying but Schumacher would be leading 7-5 if they didn't take away the pole position from him in Monte Carlo...and we also all know that Schumacher would've won the race if he had started from PP and if the car hadn't let him down again....also if they hadn't chosen the wrong strategy in the last race Schumacher would've been on the podium for the second time this year in the last race coz his driving was superb. The problem is there are too many issues with the car and wrong strategies as a result of the fact that Mercedes doesn't understand the car and the tyres at all. And there's a good chance they will next year and with Schumacher improving every year since he came back it would be foolish to look for a replacement as well as it would be foolish of Schumacher to leave. All in all it's very silly to mention Hamilton and Mercedes in one sentence so far

  • Comment number 92.

    "After relations between our two drivers reached breaking point during that infamous qualifying session in Hungary, the team saw, what some of us perceived to be, Lewis using the media to build a picture of himself as the innocent ‘team’ player in the whole affair. When the tv cameras arrived in our garage before each race from then on, there was often a very public display of shaking hands with every member of the team on both sides of the garage before climbing into his car. If there were no cameras, we barely saw him. We’d all seen Lewis play his part in the rows with Fernando, he certainly wasn’t innocent, so he quickly managed to alienate some people with the sudden showing of love when it suited him and when he knew the world was watching."

    Marc Priestly, Ex Mclaren Mechanic.

  • Comment number 93.

    as a F1 fan who isnt blinded by bias we can see all the factors that have hampered schumacher while also seeing his race skills coming back
    as a BBC journalist who is blinded by complete bias benson does not see this and only sees "schumacher 7th, he must be terrible! i'll slate him again in my next article"

  • Comment number 94.

    The only problem I see with Hamilton moving to Mercedes is the new engine regulations that come in in 2014. If the Mercedes engine is not that good then the team would be disadvantaged but at least McLaren have the choice to shop around for a different supplier.

    Also McLaren aren't likely to pull out of the sport due to poor results leaving Hamilton without a drive or the uncertainty that Button experienced in 2009 with Honda.

  • Comment number 95.

    Hamilton will be a huge flop, he is a man who cannot control himself, I had a bet with my girlfriend that he would not be at maclaren next season. Looks like i was right! He isnt mature enough to drive me to the shops the team is better off without him :)

  • Comment number 96.

    64. janner

    When the move does happen, I'll expect Janner never to write of the forum again with immediate effect.

    At95: I made a similar bet with your girlfriend too that you would use the phrase "He isnt mature enough to drive and the team is better off without him". Look like I will be meeting her tonight :-)

  • Comment number 97.

    when hamilton came in f1 for the first two years he was unbeatable he had no expectation and could drive how he wanted, no media pressure and the team kinda let him be him. its obvious to see he doesnt handle the worldwide attention well, as proved by last weekend. at mclaren now he is no longer who he is he has to a certain extent lost his charm. i would recommend he move to lotus, him and kimi would be an unbeatable team. they both gt on with each other and they are very talented. lotus would give lewis the ability to rediscover himself and take the pressure of himself as has happened with kimi and he has probably been the driver of the year. lewis needs a team mate to challenge him with button he has either beaten him easily or beaten easily, alonso bought the best out of lewis, he hasnt had it since because button and lewis are so different. mercedes are probably the 6th best team this season, he has to stop trying to get more money and just sign a contract, he isnt doing himself any favours leaking telemetry, thats probably cost him a lot

  • Comment number 98.

    If hamilton leaves then mclaren will find themselves without a superstar driver. Cue a lack of sponsors, and once again mclaren will be back to the post senna era of 94-97.Mclaren probably will up their contract offer to hamilton to prevent this situation. Well played XIX !!

  • Comment number 99.

    Whats the difference between a massive shock and a huge surprise?

  • Comment number 100.

    poor editing before publishing


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