Dennis: new Hamilton deal fully deserved

McLaren boss Ron Dennis has no doubts that Lewis Hamilton's new contract with his team, and the financial step-up it will give him, were 'fully deserved' after his rookie season in 2007

Dennis: new Hamilton deal fully deserved

With McLaren announcing on Friday that Hamilton has committed himself to the team until the end of 2012, Dennis was full of praise for both the efforts of the driver and his father/manager Anthony.

"Following our initial Formula One agreement with Lewis, which we announced in November 2006, he went on to exceed all expectations for a rookie in Formula One, even those of us in the team who have known him for over a decade," said Dennis.

"Given Lewis's performances over the course of the 2007 season, it is clear that improved financial terms were fully deserved and this formed part of the friendly negotiations with Lewis's manager Anthony Hamilton.

"Today's announcement will take the length of our relationship with Lewis to a total of 15 years, which we believe is among the longest running associations between a sportsman and a team in the history of sport, particularly motorsport. This is a great achievement for everyone involved, including Anthony.

"Lewis is an exceptional human being, on both a personal and professional level, and will continue to be a credit to this team. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is looking forward to the new season, and we all expect that, with Heikki coming on board to partner Lewis, we will have a very competitive year."

McLaren's F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh said the team only began proper negotiations with Hamilton in the wake of them getting their new MP4-23 ready for the new season.

"Since the end of the 2007 season, during which Lewis broke every rookie record standing, the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team has been focused on getting our 2008 challenger on track," he said.

"That was successfully achieved on Wednesday 9th January and led to an appropriate time for the team to hold discussions with Lewis's manager, Anthony. This was certainly not a discussion that was under any particular time frame as our previous contract with Lewis was ongoing.

"Since Heikki joined the team in December, it has become more apparent how well he and Lewis will work together to become a competitive force for the team. We feel confident we have the prospect of another exciting season ahead."

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