Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of signing a $110 million deal to stay on at the McLaren team until the end of 2012. The German newspaper Bild claims the contract, representing a mammoth pay-rise over his debut salary, is worth $17m every year plus – oddly for a McLaren contract – the ability for his father Anthony to negotiate separate marketing arrangements.
Mercedes-Benz’s Norbert Haug confirmed: “We would like to cooperate with Lewis on a long-term basis. He is a great person and a great driver.” Hamilton’s father said they are yet to sign the deal. “Not yet,” he said, then referring to the upcoming FIA inspections at Woking. “There are still things to go through, such as whether the team is definitely in formula one.”
The news coincides with Hamilton telling reporters in the McLaren motor home that he has earned more respect from the team than his championship rival Fernando Alonso. “And since what’s gone on in the last few weeks they’ve realized who the real people are in the team and who they really should back,” the Briton, 22, added.
“We arrived at Spa and he is sitting there laughing and joking. I don’t understand it.” Hamilton confirmed suspicions that his relationship with the Spaniard is almost non-existent. “He is not the person I imagined him to be,” he said. (GMM)