Lewis Hamilton slapped down by McLaren boss over contract
Ron Dennis points out that Hamilton works for McLaren, not the other way round
LEWIS HAMILTON'S relationship with McLaren appears to have deteriorated still further after team boss Ron Dennis slapped down his driver, who has been linked with a move away from the British manufacturer. The man who mentored Hamilton as a teenager said that he fully expected him to stay with the team when his contract ends but said it was up to McLaren, not the driver.
However, Hamilton's response was hardly contrite. When asked about what Dennis said, the 2008 world champion sniffed: "It has nothing to do with me... Martin [Whitmarsh, the McLaren team principal] is my boss."
The Guardian senses trouble ahead. "Hamilton's remarks suggest that the close relationship the pair shared when Dennis was team principal, until he stepped down in 2009, is no longer in place."
Dennis made the comments in an interview with Radio 5 Live ahead of this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix. When asked about the rumours linking Hamilton to other teams he replied: "I think people get the wrong impression. When I last looked at the contract, I was paying him. It is a question of whether we employ him, not the other way around. But if things pan out the way I expect them to, I am pretty sure he will be sat in a McLaren next year."
Hamilton and his agent Simon Fuller are locked in talks with McLaren over a new contract, reportedly worth up to £100m over five years. And the British driver, who has been with McLaren since he was 13, has made little secret of his disappointment over the performance of his car recently. However, the Guardian notes that his escape routes are fast disappearing.
"With Red Bull re-signing Mark Webber after his win at Silverstone, the only top-end seat potentially available outside McLaren is that of Felipe Massa at Ferrari. But Alonso would certainly not want to partner Hamilton in the wake of their difficult season together in 2007, and he is also the team's undisputed No1 driver," says the paper. ·