Lewis: Wins vital, contract not
PLENTY OF SIGNING...: but nothing yet on another contract for Lewis Hamilton as he greets fans ahead of the 2012 Canadian F1 GP. Image: AFP
MONTREAL, Canada - McLaren's Lewis Hamilton is leaving any decision about his future with the Formula 1 team until the end of the 2012 season.
The 2008 World champion, backed by the team since he drove karts and famously saying several times that he would never leave because of the team's support, is out-of-contract at the end of 2012 and there has been speculation about his intentions - even if he is widely expected to stay put.
The 27-year-old Briton told reporters ahead of Sunday's 2012 Canadian GP, where he won for the first time in an astonishing 2007 debut season, that he was focused entirely on the here-and-now.
NO WIN YET
"I've not even started to think about it, just trying to get my first win of the season - that's the most important thing at the moment," said the double Canadian GP winner when asked about contract talks. Hamilton had said at the start of the season that he was likely to decide sooner than later but he recognised on Thursday that he had underestimated how difficult and unpredictable the season would turn out to be.
There has been an unprecedented six different winners in the first six races of 2102 and Hamilton, 13 points off the lead in fourth place overall, has not been one of them. "The championship is more important than what I have to do for my next contract. My future at the moment is not important... what is important is that I capitalise on maximising this year."
MATCH OF SENNA
Asked if he could wait until after the championship was over, he replied "possibly". "I have a job at the moment and I am not in any rush, no rush at all, so there is no need to do it now."
Hamilton has now started 96 races for McLaren, the same number as the late triple champion Ayrton Senna - his boyhood hero - started for the team. When it was pointed out to him, Hamilton said he had not realised the fact but felt "very privileged" to be a part of the team and hoped to stay for a lot longer.
McLaren has also said it wants him to stay and is in no hurry to nail down a new contract. Managing director Jonathan Neale told reporters earlier in the week: "Quite clearly we would like him to continue racing for us. He'd like to continue racing for us. We have plenty of time, we don't need to make that decision until much later this year."
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