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Page last updated at 18:06 GMT, Friday, 25 March 2011

Lewis Hamilton commits future to McLaren

Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, 25-27 March
Practice: Friday, 25 March, 0125-0305 and 0525-0705; and Saturday 26 March 0255-0405, Red Button, online and 5 live sports extra
Qualifying: Saturday 26 March 0500-0730 on BBC One, BBC HD channel, Red Button, online and 5 live sports extra
Race: Sunday 27 March 0600-0900 on BBC One, BBC HD channel, Red Button, online and Radio 5 live sports extra

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton feeling 'fit and focused'

Lewis Hamilton has told McLaren he is fully committed to the team in the wake of their pre-season troubles.

McLaren struggled during testing and speculation had been growing that Hamilton could move on if they fail to give him a winning car.

But the 2008 world champion has told team principal Martin Whitmarsh he has no intention of leaving.

Team-mate Jenson Button also confirmed he plans to continue driving alongside Hamilton for the foreseeable future.

"I've spoken to Martin to reassure him I am here, I am committed to the team, committed to winning," Hamilton said.

"This is where my heart and mind are. I'm not thinking about going elsewhere, I don't have my people [his new management team] going elsewhere and doing any other talking.

"I try to put myself in other people's positions, to understand how they would feel. I think that's important.

For now, I'm committed to trying to make this team the most successful it can be, and I feel we can do that

Lewis Hamilton

"I can imagine how I would feel if I heard stories that they were looking for another driver to replace me. It would be upsetting and distracting, and I kind of assume that may have been the case. So I wanted to make sure I put that right, and that's why I spoke with Martin."

Button, Formula 1 champion in 2009 with Brawn GP, confirmed he also had no desire to leave McLaren.

"I can't imagine going somewhere else in Formula 1 after McLaren. I'm really happy here", Button said.

"When I was younger, at the start of my years in Formula 1, I never thought I'd drive for McLaren."

Button, chasing a third consecutive victory at the Australian Grand Prix, also said that the idea of retiring from the sport is something he has not considered.

"I'm sure it will come to a point with me when I'll think: 'Right, I don't want to do this anymore, I want to do something else'. That point isn't yet, and I can't even imagine it yet", he added.

"I'll be here for a couple more years."

Hamilton's contract with McLaren runs until the end of 2012.

"Of course, I'm going to be in Formula 1 for some time, and you never know which way the wind will take you," said Hamilton, who was speaking before the McLarens finished one-two in Friday's practice at the season-opening grand prix.

"I'm committed to trying to make this team the most successful it can be, and I feel we can do that."

Whitmarsh was pleased Hamilton had come to him, rather than vice versa.

"You glance through the headlines and you see lots of things, but you don't spend too much time dwelling on them," Whitmarsh said.


"He knows we will have highs and lows in any season, but he also knows this team is committed to winning.

"We're a great team, we enjoy working together. There are always plenty of challenges in this sport, and that's what we are here for.

"Obviously he has grown up with this team, we have had some great times together, and I'm sure we're going to have some great times together in the future as well.

"Lewis has grown and developed in self-assurance and his manner in the years I've known him, and has a genuine affection for the team and the people in it.

"It's great he is comfortable, enjoys the environment and working with the people in this organisation."

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see also
McLaren fight back to the front
25 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
Australian GP practice photos
25 Mar 11 |  Formula One
McLaren upbeat for Australian GP
24 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
Newey rejected Ferrari approach
24 Mar 11 |  Formula 1

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