Button hints he wants Hamilton to stay as Lewis stays quiet about McLaren future
08:59 GMT, 21 September 2012
Jenson Button has dropped a broad hint he would prefer for Lewis Hamilton to remain his team-mate at McLaren next season.
Ahead of this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix, Hamilton pre-empted further questioning over his future, in the wake of the frenzy that unfolded a fortnight ago in Italy, by stating there was no further news.
The 27-year-old now has two options open to him, with final contract offers on the table from McLaren and Mercedes.
Decision time: Lewis Hamilton is set to reveal his future plans in the coming weeks
It is believed Hamilton will deliver his answer by mid-October, potentially prior to the Japanese Grand Prix in two weeks' time, to finally quell the speculation.
As far as Button is concerned, he continues to see Hamilton as the ideal yardstick against whom he can measure himself, as has been the case for almost the last three years.
Button said: 'I purposefully moved to McLaren because I wanted a competitive team-mate, and it's always fun judging yourself.
'Over a weekend, if you have a good day and you are in front of your team-mate then it means a lot more, and you really enjoy that moment.
'When you are behind it's frustrating, but you respect the fact he has done a better job than you.
Guessing game: Team-mate Jenson Button says he does not know what Hamilton's plans are
'So it's really good having a competitive team-mate. That's the most important thing.'
Button has admitted to taking an interest in the speculation and rumours surrounding Hamilton's will he stay or will he go saga.
'I think it's great. Every day I read the papers and the websites – because we all do, even if we say we don't,' said Button with a smile.
'I don't know how much truth is in any of it – and I'm not saying you guys (the media) don't always write the truth – but there are many interesting things out there.
'There's a lot of talk and it's an exciting part of the season for everyone.
'For me, I'm all right for next year so it's more straightforward, but it's interesting reading all the rumours and the guesswork from everyone.'
Staying together: Will Hamilton and Button both be at McLaren next season
For the short term, that guesswork will continue as Hamilton is refusing to offer any further insight.
As he took his seat ahead of one of his press sessions at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, Hamilton said: 'Before we start, I'm not here to speak about anything but the weekend.
'I've no extra news for you, so use your time wisely to speak about other things if you can.'
Hamilton even refused to skirt around the issue when it was put to him Button has used speculation over his future in the past as a positive.
'I've not even thought about it,' said Hamilton, winner of two of the last three races in Hungary and Monza to push him to within 37 points of championship leader Fernando Alonso.
'I'm just focusing on this weekend. The most important thing is not to get excited about the pace we had in the last race because it is going to be different this weekend.
'Other people, like Fernando, have said they're going to be bringing an update this weekend, so I hope we have something to combat that.
'So I've other things to focus on.'