McLaren says there is no rush on a new contract for 2008 F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton

McLaren says there is 'plenty of time' to sort out future of 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton, whose contract with the British squad is set to expire at the end of the current Formula 1 season

McLaren says there is no rush on a new contract for 2008 F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton has been part of the McLaren stable since 1998 and has spent his five-year F1 career with the team, but speculation has mounted that he could leave the team for Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes.

McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale said during a Vodafone phone-in that the team was keen to retain the Briton, but insisted there was no rush on a new deal.

"Quite clearly we would like him to continue racing for us, he'd like to continue racing for us," Neale said. "We have plenty of time, we don't need to make that decision until much later this year."

Although McLaren lost ground to its rivals in Barcelona and Monaco, Neale is confident that the team's recent errors and struggles will not influence Hamilton's decision.

"I wouldn't put the last two races into a professional's mind like Lewis's in terms of where he will be comfortable in the future," Neale added. "I think you have to look at the performance of the team in the long-term and against that we stand fairly well placed.

"I'm not going to walk away from the fact we have to continue to work hard, eliminate mistakes and find upgrades. Six races, six winners; nobody is consistent at the moment.

"We sit second in the constructors' championship at the moment, and our intent is to make both drivers feel comfortable in the car so they consistently score points. We haven't done that in the past races, I'm sure we can in the future."

While Hamilton is yet to win in 2012, he lies fourth in the championship, just eight points short of the current leader Fernando Alonso.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton
Teams McLaren
Author Sam Tremayne
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