SEPTEMBER 5, 2012
Hamilton linked to Mercedes move
Lewis Hamilton could be on his way to Mercedes in 2013 according to BBC chief F1 analyst and former team owner Eddie Jordan. The speculation has, however, been denied by both McLaren and Hamilton's management team X1X Entertainment, who say that negotiations with McLaren are at an advanced stage. By Tony Dodgins
Many expected that an extension of Hamilton's six-year McLaren career would be finalised over F1's summer break, given that the options for Lewis appeared limited.
At Spa last weekend, Bernie Ecclestone, in an interview with Jordan, gave the impression that Michael Schumacher would be retiring for good at the end of the year and Schumacher himself appeared to be preparing the ground for sucn an announcement in October -- as much by what he didn't say as what he did.
Hamilton's head did not seem to be entirely focused on the task in hand in Belgium either, which was interesting. He left Hungary five weeks earlier after a superb win, talking about again fighting for the championship. But, in Belgium, he seemed more intent on letting people know why he wasn't as quick as team mate Jenson Button in qualifying, which he accomplished by publishing overlays of his own and Button's qualifying laps on Twitter!
In the process, he revealed car data which one rival team principal described as 'gold dust.' Another labellled it "quite extraordinary behaviour." A former driver added: "He may as well have given everyone McLaren's aero profile"
In 2011 Hamilton had a poor season by his own stellar standards, with some seasoned observers reflecting that his private life was impacting on his driving. This year, however, he had seemed much more on top of his game until Spa, when his lapse may well have betrayed frustration at team discusssions advising him to take a different rear wing to Button and ultimately qualifying the best part of a second slower.
Although publicly McLaren played down the incident, Hamilton is bound to have taken some heat for his behaviour, with Button himself calling it 'disappointing.'
Timing can be everything and it will be remembered that McLaren themselves struck to lure Juan Pablo Montoya away from Williams immediately after the Colombian fell out with his team over an incident at the French GP in 2004.
For that reason alone, today's BBC story is interesting. And even more so when you consider that the Mercedes management was caught on the hop when McLaren poached Jenson Button at the end of his championship year in 2009. You can bet that they'd like to get even...