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Whitmarsh expects Lewis Hamilton to stick with McLaren

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh (L) believes Lewis Hamilton will stay at the Formula One marque for a long time

Story highlights

  • McLaren principal Martin Whitmarsh expects Lewis Hamilton to stay at the F1 team
  • Hamilton's current contract runs out at the end of the 2012 season
  • British driver has endured difficult season recording just one win out of nine races
  • Hamilton trails drivers' championship leader Fernando Alonso by 37 points

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh expects Lewis Hamilton to extend his stay with the Formula One marque, despite his contract expiring at the end of the current season.

The 2008 world champion has been at McLaren for the entirety of his F1 career but has expressed his disappointment at the performance of the team's car this campaign.

Hamilton has just one grand prix win to his name in 2012 -- in Canada -- and trails drivers' championship leader Fernando Alonso, from Ferrari, by 37 points.

But despite speculation linking the 27-year-old with a move away, Whitmarsh says McLaren and Hamilton are entirely relaxed about his situation.

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"I think we will (agree a new deal)," Whitmarsh told the sport's official website. "We've known Lewis a long time."

    Whitmarsh rejected the notion that poor performances from McLaren in the next two Formula One races -- in Germany and Hungary -- would strengthen Hamilton's negotiating position.

    "I think we're going to the next two races to try and win, as we do with every race," he added. "I think Lewis is more intelligent than that and I hope the same applies to the media."

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    After finishing eighth in his home grand prix at Silverstone Hamilton said McLaren needed a quick change in fortunes if they were to stay in the world title race.

    But faced with the prospect of going through a fourth F1 season without adding to his solitary drivers' championship crown, Hamilton has been linked with a move away from the team.

    Whitmarsh said that although speculation in the media had reached fever pitch, McLaren were focused on the rest of the season and not Hamilton's contract.

    "We have been concentrating on the season and I think there has been more speculation, more concern and more interest about Lewis's situation in the media than there has been perhaps within the team or within Lewis's mind," he added.

    "We are often asked questions about it but I don't think it occupies as much time in our minds as it does in column inches.

    "I don't think we should put any timeframe on it. I think it's something that's got to be determined for both parties preferably before the end of the season. I don't think there's any need to do so against any tight timeframe for that resolution."

    Both Hamilton and his teammate Jenson Button have cut dejected figures at times as they have struggled to keep pace with the likes of Alonso and Red Bull pair Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

    But Whitmarsh says there will be a range of improvements to the car for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim this weekend.

    "Our focus is always to keep developing the car," he explained. "We will have quite a lot of quite noticeable updates on the car in Germany.

    "I think for everyone, not just McLaren, trying to understand how to work the tires correctly is quite a substantial challenge.

    "So eliminating mistakes, improving the performance of our car and understanding the tires and seeing if we can exploit them better are all on the top of our to-do list."