McLaren ask Lewis Hamilton to take 5m pay cut

Please stay at McLaren, Lewis… but you will have to take a 5m pay cut

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UPDATED:

21:35 GMT, 21 September 2012

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has finally conceded his team are trying to re-sign Lewis Hamilton on a reduced contract.

Sportsmail revealed that McLaren are
trying to shave one third off Hamilton’s 15million-a-season deal, which
expires at the end of the campaign.

Penny for your thoughts: McLaren want Lewis Hamilton to take a pay cut

Penny for your thoughts: McLaren want Lewis Hamilton to take a pay cut

But despite Mercedes offering to match Hamilton’s current terms, while bonuses could push his earnings to around 60m over three years, Whitmarsh admitted the 2008 world champion must accept a wage cut if he wants to remain with the Woking-based outfit.

Discussing the offer to Hamilton ahead of Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix, Whitmarsh said: ‘I am sure he will want more money and I am sure we will want to pay less. That is how business normally works.’

Even so, Whitmarsh claimed that a new deal could be completed quickly once it becomes a top priority.

Night rider: Hamilton during practice at the Marina Bay Street Circuit

Night rider: Hamilton during practice at the Marina Bay Street Circuit

singapore grand prix

Referring to the protracted nature of
the contract negotiations, Whitmarsh added: ‘It seems a long time
because of the speculation that people have made but when you sit down
and seriously put your mind to entering into a new contract it doesn’t
take too long. I think it is a question of priorities and other things
we have been doing.’

It remains to be seen how long Hamilton is prepared to wait for his
future to be moved to the top of McLaren’s to-do list, but teammate
Jenson Button already appears to be weighing up the merits of potential
new partners, with both Paul di Resta and Sergio Perez earning his
praise.

When asked yesterday who he would fancy as a possible replacement for
Hamilton, the 32-year-old was in light-hearted mood. ‘I would like the
Incredible Hulk as my team-mate, he’s amazing,’ said Button, before
clarifying he meant the green giant and not Force India’s Nico
Hulkenberg — another promising youngster.

Leading the way: Sebastian Vettel was fastest in the first practice

Leading the way: Sebastian Vettel was fastest in the first practice

Button went to McLaren to challenge himself against a driver regarded
as the fastest in the sport and beat him, the first team-mate of
Hamilton to do so.

The pair are not friends; they have little in common. Nothing wrong with
that, but when Hamilton pulls stunts like publishing both his and
Button’s telemetry information on Twitter, there are bound to be
consequences. In the light of such increased friction with his team-mate
it is perhaps easier to understand why Button recently issued a glowing
endorsement of Di Resta, the Force India driver who recently joined his
management company.

‘He is very, very talented and he has got his head screwed on,’ said Button of the Scot.

The praise for Perez was equally grand as Button addressed Ferrari
president Luca di Montezemolo’s assertion that the Sauber starlet lacks
experience.

‘He (Perez) is a quick learner,’ said Button. ‘He can’t be bad if he is doing as well as he is.’

Hot on the heels: Lewis Hamilton was second fastest in practice

Hot on the heels: Lewis Hamilton was second fastest in practice