Sep 29 2012
Lewis Hamilton has vowed no quarter will be given in his pursuit of this season's Formula One world title despite announcing his defection to Mercedes on Friday.
Hamilton is to end his 14-year association with McLaren at the end of this season, joining Mercedes on a three-year deal worth £15million per year. The move now draws into question his dedication to McLaren for the rest of the campaign, which has six races remaining, starting in Japan next Sunday.
But although trailing Ferrari's Fernando Alonso by 52 points with 150 still up for grabs, Hamilton said: "In terms of the championship, there's nothing to really be gained by analysing the points tables. From now on, it's simply gloves-off. As in Singapore, I'll come out fighting, and I'll just be hoping for a better result next weekend."
That follows Hamilton's retirement at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on lap 23 with a gearbox failure when comfortably leading the race, denying him what would have been a third victory in four grands prix.
That, though, had no bearing on his decision to leave McLaren, with Hamilton telephoning team principal Martin Whitmarsh on Wednesday to deliver his answer after being set a final deadline.
Despite being given a decision he did not want to hear, Whitmarsh has no doubt about Hamilton's commitment to the McLaren cause over the final two months.
"He's told me he is," said Whitmarsh when questioned on the matter. "Clearly there will be cause to be distracted in the next days and few weeks, and we've got to try and protect him from that.
"If I know Lewis he wants to win this year's world championship, he wants to win the remaining six races.
"He's assured me he's a McLaren man for the rest of this year and that he's going to be completely focused on winning.
"So we are going to try and create as much protection for him and the environment in which he can do that."