Date: 17th May 2012 at 9:43am
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Lewis Hamilton will remain with the McLaren Team for a long time to come according to Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh.

Speculation has surrounded the 2008 Formula One World Champion over the past twelve months, with everyone in the paddock and in the media eager to know where the British driver will be next season.

At the end of 2012 Lewis Hamilton’s current contract with the McLaren team expires, while the team were keen to sew up Jenson Button’s future to a long-term contract, Hamilton’s future has remained unclear.

During the 2011 season when Hamilton suffered his worst season in F1, many thought that McLaren could be considering dropping the British favourite.

This season with McLaren making mistakes which are costing Hamilton valuable points in the championship, the tables have somewhat turned.

Mistakes in the pit-lane was a hot topic before the teams rolled into Barcelona, focusing in particular on the tyre changes that had cost Hamilton in previous races.

But after qualifying, when Hamilton had plonked his McLaren on pole by half a second, he was disqualified for fuel infringement following a mistake in the garage which had sent him out without enough fuel.

Even during the race Hamilton’s pit-stops were not faultless, but this time he just bumped his old tyre while on the way out of his pit box.

Could McLaren’s mistakes now cost them dearly with Ferrari and Red Bull having been linked with Hamilton for 2013?

?No, I don?t, He has got to build the support of the team, he has got to feel comfortable doing it, he has got to want to drive and he is in good shape. I look forward to working with him for a long time to come.? Whitmarsh said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

Speaking more specifically about the fuel mistake after qualifying, he added: ?I was concerned because it is a pretty tough thing to happen to a driver. But I have to say he showed some greatness I had not seen before. By the end of our chat he was consoling me.

?To say I was disappointed is a modest expression of what I felt. He was saying ?we win and lose as a team?. He was a great, great driver this weekend.


Hamilton of course went on to drive a superb race from the back of the field to eighth place, beating team-mate Jenson Button who had struggled all weekend with his set-up.

Whitmarsh concluded: ?My affection and admiration for Lewis have been enhanced by events this weekend. The relationship between Lewis and the team is stronger and better and hopefully we will work together for a long time.?

It would appear that the 27-year-old has matured over the past 12 months of disappointments and it’s looking more and more likely that a deal between Hamilton and McLaren will be struck in the not so distant future.