Lewis Hamilton insists that there is no news on his plans for 2013, despite it becoming increasingly likely that he will eventually ink a new deal with McLaren.
It’s no secret that the two sides have conflicting ideas about what might represent a fair salary for the 2008 World Champion.
“I’m pretty much in a similar position to what I was going into the season,” said Hamilton. “There’s work being done in the background now, and I’m not really focussing on that now. The guys that I pay to do that job are discussing that and working on getting that resolved.
“It’s important that the team know that I’m massively committed to them in the championship. That’s the important thing.”
Asked if McLaren was where he really wanted to be, he said: “Yeah, but this is a business. I always wear my heart on my sleeve, but of course you have to be business minded as well.”
Meanwhile Hamilton said he was excited about being back at Spa.
“I’m looking forward to the weekend. This is one of the Grands Prix I enjoy, it’s one of the races I enjoy. It’s one of the races where it’s not so busy for us as drivers, so we can focus on the racing. Every year we come here we seem to get more and more support from the fans, more and more people turn up. It’s one of my favourite tracks. I’m excited about it and looking forward to seeing how the car behaves here.
Hamilton was amused at ongoing suggestions from Fernando Alonso that the Ferrari is not the quickest car.
“He would say that wouldn’t he? He was just positioning himself in a nice way. I can say the same thing, my car is definitely the slowest out of the top four teams. We’ll see what we can do with it.”
On a more serious note, he said that McLaren does have to improve its race pace.
“We’ve got to continue to improve the car. We’re currently not the quickest… I think we’re quite quick over a qualifying lap, for several reasons, but in the race we’re still not the quickest. We are very, very similar to the others. I think Lotus perhaps has just taken a step ahead, they’ve been the quickest in the race. I think now it’s trying to improve our race pace.
“If we can improve our race pace and match our qualifying pace, I think we’ll be very, very strong. But I think it’s still a race of development throughout the year, and on the drivers’ front, it’s consistency, as I’ve been saying from the beginning.
Asked by this writer whether the 2012 title battle felt any different from previous ones – given that outwardly he appears more relaxed – he said it wasn’t.
“That’s because we’ve still got nine races to go! Every point is crucial, and we’ve lost quite a lot of points this year. Moving forward it gets more and more intense because every point becomes more or more valuable than it was in the past. It doesn’t feel any different to any other year, it’s just there’s even more competition.”
Lewis said that he was not expecting Jenson Button to support his title challenge any time soon.
“No, Jenson races for the team and he races for points for himself as well. He’s getting stronger as the season goes on, so I anticipate that’s going to be the case throughout the rest of the season. We need him and I need him scoring points as well. I want him to do well.”
He insisted that he didn’t want to be helped by any team orders: “I don’t see racing like that. You watch back in the years when drivers let drivers past to win the World Championship… It doesn’t feel right to me. I won’t be asking for that.
“If I’m not quick enough, I’m not quick enough. I want to win because I’m quickest, not because I’ve been given points by someone being held up or whatever.”