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F1 NEWS 

McLaren did 'all it could' to prevent Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes move

Martin Whitmarsh and Lewis HamiltonMcLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh is happy that McLaren did its best to try and convince Lewis Hamilton to stay at the team.

After weeks of discussion between McLaren and Hamilton's management team, XIX Entertainment, it was confirmed on Friday that the former world champion will be moving to Mercedes next season.

Whitmarsh insisted that there were no regrets about how McLaren had handled the negotiations - and thinks his team went as far as it could do with the terms it was offering Hamilton.

"We went a long way to make a good offer to Lewis but ultimately it takes two to get to a signature," Whitmarsh told Sky Sports News. "We clearly didn't agree terms and we've moved in a different direction."

Whitmarsh refused to blame the influence of XIX Entertainment in pushing Hamilton to make a decision that some have viewed as a gamble.

"If the question is do we blame XIX? I don't. The fact is that Lewis is a great racing driver; he's got to make the decisions in his life.

"We had lots of discussions with XIX. We went into lots of details, and drew up very complex contracts. We negotiated lots of detail, lots of freedom within those and it was a very good commercial offer."

Whitmarsh said that the focus now was purely on looking to what Hamilton's replacement Sergio Perez could bring to the team alongside Jenson Button.

"We've got a world champion called Jenson Button who has won 14 grands prix. He was utterly dominant two races ago in Spa with a fantastic drive. Jenson has experience.

"We've got this exciting young Latin who when you meet him is intelligent, is charming, he's humble but deeply hungry. He's coming here with the aim of winning the world championship next year."

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