Fernando Alonso labels Hamilton as his nemesis – McLaren keen on keeping the Briton
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso has labelled Lewis Hamilton as his nemesis for the last seven races of the season. The McLaren driver has been in fine form as of late. Last weekend Lewis Hamilton won the Italian Grand Prix at Monza to acquire a second place finish in the Championship standings.
The Spaniard’s thoughts are also shared by McLaren, who believe that Lewis Hamilton will be the man for the money in the last seven races of the Formula One season.
“At the moment McLaren have won the last three Grands Prix and they are in top form,” Fernando Alonso said. “I think from Jerez in winter testing, Lewis was the driver that I respect more and we're still here; 13 races afterwards we are first and second in the championship. It will be tough until the end.”
McLaren and Lewis Hamilton had a falling out at the start of the season. Lewis Hamilton’s contract with McLaren comes to an end during summer next year. McLaren is eager to re-sign Lewis Hamilton, but the 27-year-old’s demand for a better contract has placed a barrier in the process.
However, Lewis Hamilton’s increase in form has forced McLaren to build bridges. Following Lewis Hamilton’s Sunday victory at Monza, McLaren’s chief executive Martin Whitmarsh stepped in front of the media to talk about the contract situation of the 2008 World Champion.
“I haven't given Plan B any thought,” Martin Whitmarsh said. “We want Lewis to stay, and we want him to stay if he wants to stay. But when you are trying to win a championship, you have a number of priorities. You divide your time, energy and focus on those things – one of them is making the car faster, better; another is dealing with all the operational issues to make sure you don't make mistakes, and another is dealing with your own drivers. Rightly or wrongly, I haven't spent a lot of energy on the latter subject.”
Lewis Hamilton’s manager Simon Fuller ignited rumors of move to Mercedes, which is something Martin Whitmarsh has labelled as “fundamentally questionable”. Nevertheless, Lewis Hamilton has indeed been in contact Mercedes and the thought of it is bring frowns to Martin Whitmarsh’s face.
“As you know, we deal with management companies, not directly with drivers, which is the way of the world – or the way of the drivers – so I'm sure we'll be having those conversations very shortly,” Martin Whitmarsh said in an interview to BBC.
Rife rumors suggest McLaren will be offering as little as $7.5 million to Lewis Hamilton even though his current salary amounts to $15 million. Mercedes is ready to offer him $12 million, but speculation suggests Michael Schumacher will stay with the team this season. Therefore, no vacant seats at Mercedes means Lewis Hamilton will be staying with McLaren for another season.