Lewis Hamilton’s contract with McLaren runs out at the end of 2012. As yet, the 2008 World Champion has not committed to a team for 2013, creating speculation that he will leave McLaren.
Hamilton has long been regarded as perhaps the most talented driver on the grid. His qualifying pace in 2012 is a perfect demonstration of his ability. Grid-penalties aside, Hamilton has outqualified his team-mate Jenson Button at every race so far this season. If the car remains competitive, Hamilton is a strong contender for this year’s World Championship. In short, he is hot property in the driver market.
McLaren will certainly want to keep Hamilton. Who wouldn’t? Any other team with an available seat will also be looking to secure his services. In particular, Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes could all have seats available for 2013, depending on what they negotiate with their existing drivers.
Hamilton claims to be unconcerned with next season at the moment. In his own words: “The championship’s more important than what I plan to do with my next contract.” That in itself suggests that, while he has made no decision, there is a decision to make. He has tacitly acknowledged that he could move teams, which should be enough to concern McLaren.