Subdued Hamilton fuels talk of McLaren rift at Italian GP
English driver triumphed at Monza but looked like a man 'who has just lost £10'
LEWIS HAMILTON won the Italian Grand Prix for McLaren on Sunday, but his reaction did little to quell rumours that he is unhappy and is set to leave the team at the end of the season.
The Times says the British driver reacted to his victory "with all the enthusiasm of a man who has just lost a £10 note," while The Guardian said he "climbed the victory podium with the demeanour of a man ascending the scaffold".
He should have been celebrating after what the Guardian said was "one of his finest weekends" but while his driving was exceptional his "subdued mood afterwards was a reminder of the baggage he carries with him, the prickliness of his character", according to The Daily Telegraph.
The reaction of the Italian fans may have added to his sour mood. "The fact Hamilton was booed by the partisan Ferrari-favouring tifosi as he took to the podium did not help," noted the Daily Mail. But it also pointed out that his boss Ron Dennis failed to applaud Hamilton as he was presented with the trophy.
Afterwards the McLaren chairman said that the victory strengthened the manufacturer's hand in contract talks with Hamilton, who is said to have been offered a three year contract worth £60m by Mercedes. The victory was McLaren's third in a row and "demonstrated again that we have a very strong car," said Dennis.
"If Lewis is absolutely committed to winning then he can win in a McLaren," he added.
Despite the apparent discord in the McLaren camp, Hamilton is now second in the drivers' championship and only 37 points behind leader Fernando Alonso. However, he will not be given special treatment for the rest of the season and will have to battle team-mate Jenson Button all the way.
Button has confirmed that he will not stand aside for Hamilton and said: "I go out to win. I'm not going to go out and pedal round and sit behind my team-mate." ·