Lewis Hamilton has admitted he has thought about leaving McLaren at the end of the season. But the 2008 world champion also indicated he is likely to stay put.
27-year-old Hamilton’s contract expires at the end of 2012, but speculation about his plans have lingered for some time. McLaren’s managing director Jonathan Neale said this week the Woking based team wants to retain the Briton. But when asked in Montreal on Thursday if he could wait until the season is over before making a decision, Hamilton answered: “Possibly. I am not in any rush, no rush at all, so there is no need to do it now.”
It has been rumoured the hold-up is not just about money, but also Hamilton’s time off and freedom to separately exploit his image commercially.
“I’ve thought of a move,” Hamilton told London’s Evening Standard newspaper, while indicating he will probably extend his long McLaren tenure. “At some stage my management will have to sit down and start planning. I’m very happy where I am so I think it may be fairly simple,” he added.
McLaren’s top team rivals all have theoretical vacancies for 2013, as Michael Schumacher (Mercedes), Mark Webber (Red Bull) and Felipe Massa (Ferrari) have expiring contracts.
“I know Sebastian Vettel has said he wants to drive for Ferrari and Mercedes, teams with a big tradition,” said Hamilton. “I don’t feel like it’s a dream to drive for Ferrari. I already drive for another great brand that makes beautiful cars.
“The McLaren is the best car out there, I believe, and the team has a great history.”