Hamilton warns McLaren: Make me a winner again or I’ll leave you

BRITAIN’S Lewis Hamilton has warned his McLaren bosses that unless he is provided with a more competitive car he will be left with no other option than to see alternative employers.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh was earlier this week reported to be mulling over an offer worth a combined total of £100m to keep Hamilton and Jenson Button onboard until 2017.

But with this season’s world title hopes already fading fast as a result of the one hundred per cent start made to the new campaign by Red Bull’s outstanding Sebastian Vettel, who has won both of the opening races ahead of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, Hamilton admits he could be tempted by a fresh challenge, and more pertinently the chance to race a faster, more reliable car.

“I have got only a short period in Formula One and I want to be competitive,” he said. “I want to win championships. If you’re in a good enough place and you’re happy then there’s no need to go anywhere. But loyalty has its limits.”

Hamilton, who has been with the Woking-based McLaren team since signing as a child prodigy, was asked whether he envisaged staying with them for his entire career. “I don’t really envisage anything, to be honest,” he said.

According to Hamilton, Red Bull, who would be favourites to sign him if he did move on, are getting stronger and stronger.

“They’re better this year,” he said. “They’re just getting better. The car is the quickest so now they can focus on other areas. Their pit stop is the fastest. They’re in and out. Boom. It’s like clockwork.”

Button, who succeeded Hamilton as world champion in 2009, was more upbeat about McLaren’s chances of overhauling Red Bull.

He said: “I think we can make more headway than Red Bull, because of not really completely knowing our car and not having the perfect set-up over the past couple of races. Also we have some updates here; I don’t know if Red Bull has.”