McLaren confident Lewis Hamilton will stay with the team

McLaren is confident that Lewis Hamilton will remain a part of the team in years to come, despite further speculation about his future in Formula 1

McLaren confident Lewis Hamilton will stay with the team

Newspaper reports at the weekend suggested that Hamilton could activate a clause in his contract to leave the Woking-based outfit at the end of this year if the team does not win the world championship.

However, team principal Martin Whitmarsh said that there was every indication Hamilton was fully committed to remaining a part of the outfit that he has raced for since he entered F1 in 2007.

"Lewis loves this team and he knows the car is capable of winning races," Whitmarsh said in an interview with the Independent. "He's sat with me here in the last 10 days and explained his passion, enthusiasm and desire to remain part of this team.

"I've known him since he was 11. I don't think he would look me in the eye and say that if he didn't mean it."

Whitmarsh has also defended Hamilton from recent criticisms about his driving etiquette - especially following collisions with rivals at the Monaco and Canadian Grands Prix.

"A racing driver has to attack," he said. "If you are going to overtake another Formula 1 car, you are going to take a risk."

Speaking about the comments made by Niki Lauda and Emerson Fittipaldi, Whitmarsh said: "These are very quotable people, and very quotable people say things for effect.

"I know Niki and like him, and I accept that there are people around who want to say things to create controversy. Niki's in that category. You know, there was a famous encounter between Jackie Stewart and Ayrton Senna, which I think is in the new Senna movie, and it's basically them having the same conversation. Ayrton's response was that he was there to race.

"Now, does Lewis regret his accidents? Of course he does and so do I. Would you want him to change his style? With due respect to the great and the good, we're living in the here and now."

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