Hamilton talk dominates F1 before Singapore race

Hamilton talk dominates F1 before Singapore race

SINGAPORE - Agence France-Presse
Hamilton talk dominates F1 before Singapore race

British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton says he is happy with McLaren Mercedes but he adds that he had not committed to any team next season. AFP Photo

Formula One enfant terrible Lewis Hamilton is again in the spotlight this week as fevered speculation over his future dominates the build-up to the Singapore Grand Prix.

The 27-year-old Briton lies second in the standings behind Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, after a consummate drive in Italy brought his third win of the season and renewed hope of a second world title.

Formula One is embarking on a four-stop Asian swing, from Singapore’s glittering, skyscraper-studded night race, to Japan, South Korea and India, which may settle this year’s unpredictable title race.

But the precocious Hamilton’s off-track affairs are dominating headlines after he admitted his future was undecided at long-term employer McLaren, and a reported cooling of relations with teammate Jenson Button. The 2008 world champion brought a sharp rebuke from Button after he tweeted sensitive team information during this month’s Belgian Grand Prix. His muted victory celebrations in Italy were widely noted.

No commitment

In the run-up to Singapore, the 14th of 20 races, Hamilton stressed he was “happy with McLaren” -- but said he had not committed to any team next season, when he is out of contract.

“No, I haven’t committed to any team as yet. I don’t have a timeline either,” Hamilton said. “I won my first title with McLaren and I am happy with their background, the people and environment there.”

The bejewelled driver won on Singapore’s “darty”, demanding street circuit in 2009, but retired with a puncture in 2010 and finished fifth last year after tangling with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa.

“I think we’re in a very strong position this weekend where we can challenge for the win,” Hamilton added, describing the Singapore race as “phenomenally tense.”