Hamilton wants trophies and title
Date published : 14 Aug 2012 - 09:05:46
Lewis Hamilton set off for his European summer holiday and Formula One mid-season break this week convinced that he can still win his second drivers' world title this year.
Hamilton's commanding performance in winning last weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix reduced his deficit to championship leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari from 62 points to 47 with nine of this year's 20 races remaining.
In this year of the unexpected, the 27-year-old Briton remains in fourth place behind the consistent and unyielding Alonso, but believes that he can still achieve his ambition on the track and, he hopes, off it by agreeing a new contract with McLaren.
After weeks of speculation, it has become ever more certain that the 2008 champion will remain with the Woking team, but, he said, there are various important points to resolve before he re-signs.
One of these, he revealed, is that he considers one of the 'push points' in his talks to be that he will be allowed to keep his trophies.
McLaren have always kept all of the trophies won by their drivers, but Hamilton hopes he can change that habit.
"Ron [Dennis] and the team have all the trophies in the cabinet and the drivers get replicas," he said.
"In a lot of other teams, the drivers get their original trophies. As a racing driver, what you work for and what you want to take home are two things; one is your crash helmet and the other is your trophy. For me, they are priceless.
"I don't care if they don't give me a car [to keep], but those two things are what you put your blood and sweat into, and the team keep those at the moment. So whatever contract I'm having next, that is going to be a push point.
"I don't feel I have a tough decision to make. It is my career I'm talking about however -- the last part of my (professional) life.
"It's the first time I've been in this position, so I guess it still remains an important decision."
McLaren team chief Martin Whitmarsh remained confident that the issue would be resolved and Hamilton will stay at McLaren.
He said: "I've known Lewis a long time and I think we have a very good understanding of one another.
"I think there is a lot of mutual trust and respect -- I hope and believe both ways. So I don't see that (the trophies) as a big issue. We will see."
Hamilton has also been encouraged by McLaren team-mate, and fellow-Englishman, Jenson Button to stay with the team because their partnership, and sporting rivalry, helps each bring the best out of the other.
Hamilton, whose win followed a run of three races in which he scored only four points, left Budapest last weekend feeling that he had reignited his title bid.
He said: "If we can continue this kind of performance we can catch up. We need consistency and we need to improve the car still in many areas and I am sure we will do that.
"It is nice to go into the break knowing that we have had a win. It is a great feeling and very important now for me how I manage my time and use the summer break.
"We have clearly still got a lot of work to do."