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Last Updated: Monday, 19 December 2005, 07:51 GMT
McLaren protege told to bide time
McLaren team boss Ron Dennis
Dennis sees Hamilton as a potential F1 champion
McLaren boss Ron Dennis has urged protege Lewis Hamilton to be patient in his bid to become an F1 driver.

McLaren have funded Hamilton's career for almost a decade, taking him to the fringes of F1 with a stunning rise through the junior categories.

But Dennis warned: "He should not be obsessed with climbing into a Formula One car as fast as possible."

Hertfordshire's reigning European F3 champion tackles F1 feeder series GP2 next season.

Dennis said: "He is 21 in January, he's got at least 15 years competitive motor racing left of his career.

"He has always listened and taken our advice, and results of him going down this path is that he will be a very competitive grand prix driver but he has to take the approach we recommend."

We think he will one day win a world championship in a McLaren
Martin Whitmarsh on Lewis Hamilton

McLaren's managing director Martin Whitmarsh admitted: "It is highly unlikely that the first grand prix drive he has will be in a McLaren, and he knows that.

"Equally, he knows that we will be supportive all the way through. We are not going to obstruct his career."

Whitmarsh has high hopes for Hamilton, believing he will ultimately return to McLaren and fight for titles.

"Lewis has extraordinary talents, developing year on year, getting stronger mentally and with technical approach.

"We believe he will be a McLaren driver in the future. We want to give him a sporting challenge, and we think he is good enough to consistently win in GP2.

"Once he has won that championship we can do some F1 testing and then if there is a good opportunity to go F1 racing in 2007 we would look at it seriously.

"We have paid his entire budget for the last eight or nine years and put a lot of time and effort in with Lewis.

"We wouldn't have been doing that unless we thought he will one day win a world championship in a McLaren."




SEE ALSO
Dennis wants F1 season shortened
15 Dec 05 |  Formula One


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