Hamilton hints at McLaren stay after Monza triumph

 
Julian Harris
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AIN’S Lewis Hamilton hinted yesterday that he is happy to stay with McLaren, after leading the team to their third straight Formula One victory.

Hamilton and McLaren spent last week dogged by rumours of his departure, after Eddie Jordan, previously a team principal in F1, said the Brit had already agreed personal terms with Mercedes.

But any unease was brushed aside at Monza in yesterday’s Italian Grand Prix, as Hamilton led from pole to storm to his second win in the last three races.

“The guys have done a great job with the package,” Hamilton enthused, praising McLaren’s efforts following the August break.

“I knew that from the previous race with Jenson’s pace, and I thought ‘that means I’ve got to do the same here’ – and the guys did a great job.”

Hamilton’s only regret was that his McLaren team-mate Jenson Button could not join him on the podium, after the fellow Brit’s car broke down on lap 33.

“[It was] very unfortunate for Jenson because we were one-two at the time and it would have been fantastic to have been first and second [at the end],” he said.

Hamilton’s lead never looked in doubt despite a late threat from Sauber’s Sergio Perez, who flew through the field following a clever pit-stop strategy.

Perez started on hard tyres, managing to stay out until lap 31 of 53, when he finally switched to the faster medium compound. With the wind in his sails, the Mexican overtook Kimi Raikkonen, as well as the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.

Yet Hamilton was too far ahead to be caught and he passed the chequered flag victoriously in one hour, 19 minutes, and 41 seconds.

Championship leader Alonso finished third, having started the race 10th on the grid, and remains 37 points ahead of Hamilton. Red Bull team-mates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber both retired.

STANDINGS

F1 Drivers’ Championship
1. F. Alonso (Ferrari) 179 points

2. L. Hamilton (McLaren) 142

3. K. Raikkonen (Lotus) 141

4. S. Vettel (Red Bull) 140

5. M. Webber (Red Bull) 132

6. J. Button (McLaren) 101