Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Hamilton Is Risking His F1 Title Chances'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Hamilton Is Risking His F1 Title Chances'

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Majendie

[bar] EWIS HAMILTON'S title ambitions are in danger of being derailed by his contract wranglings, according to Martin Brundle.

Hamilton has two contracts on the table -- one of [pounds sterling]15million a year to move to Mercedes and another estimated to be two-thirds of that to stay at McLaren -- and it is thought to be a straight 50-50 decision for the Briton.

But former McLaren driver turned commentator Brundle said the contract talks, which look set to overshadow the build-up to Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix, could endanger the 27-year-old Briton's bid for a second world title.

"I think it's difficult as Lewis will get asked about it this weekend," said Brundle. "Lewis isn't very good in that situation, in that he tends to leave more questions than answers.

"Lewis can win the world title if he really gets his act together but the big question is whether he can do that with all this going on. When he's in the right mood, I genuinely think he's unbeatable but, from the outside looking in, it's difficult.

"If he decides to join f Mercedes, McLaren have a real issue as they'll need to think about what development and knowledge to impart to a driver that will be leaving the team. That's when it will become very difficult for him and them."

The choice for Hamilton is to stay with a team that have nurtured him since the age of 13 and have won races regularly each season or take a gamble at Mercedes. They have made no secret of their desire to snap him up but boast a solitary race win as a modern-day manufacturer. Brundle believes the 2014 engine regulation changes hold the key to the 2008 champion's decision.

The current 2.4-litre V8 engines will be replaced by more efficient 1.6-litre turbo-charged V6 versions.

"There's the chance for a big refit in Formula One then, so that will be on his mind," said Brundle, who admitted he had no idea what Hamilton would do. …

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