Hamilton silent over McLaren future as Button tells team-mate to embrace speculation
14:59 GMT, 20 September 2012
Lewis Hamilton took the sting out of what could have become another feeding frenzy over his future by declining to answer any questions as to where he might be next season.
As revealed this week, Hamilton has two final contract offers on the table from McLaren and Mercedes, with the ball in his court as to where he decides to go.
In Italy a fortnight ago, courtesy of a remark from Eddie Jordan that terms had been agreed with Mercedes and an announcement of a deal was imminent, the subject of Hamilton's future was the only one in town.
Silent treatment: Hamilton refused to discuss his future at McLaren on Thursday
Two weeks on ahead of this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix and Hamilton has no desire to continue to discuss the matter.
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 team-mate Jenson 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.'
Closing in: Hamilton is only 37 points behind championship leader Alonso
So it was left to Button to put things into perspective for Hamilton, urging him to embrace his situation, no matter how tough the decision.
Button experienced something similar in 2009 as to whether he would remain with Brawn, which eventually morphed into Mercedes, or move on elsewhere, and again last season with his initial two-year McLaren deal expiring.
'I quite like it. It's quite exciting being in that situation,' said Button.
'I've never found it a bad thing when people have asked me where I'm racing, and when you've more than one interested party it's always nice for a driver.
'The only difficult time for me was with Williams and BAR (as there was a contract dispute), but that was for different reasons.
High spirits: Button was in a more convivial mood than his team-mate
'But when people have talked about whether I'm going to be at one team or another I've never had a real issue with it before.'
With rumours of Sergio Perez or Paul Di Resta joining McLaren should Hamilton depart, Button is keeping an eye on all the gossip and does care as to who his partner will be next season.
'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.
Renewing acquaintances: Button sizes up his car in Singapore
'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.'
And if he had a choice, it would appear he would prefer Hamilton to remain with McLaren, believing the 27-year-old a perfect yardstick against whom to measure his own performance.
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.
'It's really good having a competitive team-mate. That's the most important thing.'