NEW DELHI (AFP) –
Lewis Hamilton has begun repairs on his relationship with McLaren chairman Ron Dennis as he aims for a smooth and successful exit starting with a strong showing in this weekend’s Indian Grand Prix.
The 2007 world champion said he and his team were aiming for maximum success in Sunday’s Indian Grand Prix, adding that he would ‘eat his words’ if he managed to overhaul defending champion German Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull and win a second title.
The Brit currently lies 62 points adrift of Vettel in the standings with just four races to go.
Almost a month after he confirmed he was leaving McLaren for Mercedes next season, Hamilton said he had spoken to long-time mentor Dennis and they had agreed to meet for a ‘good chat’ at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next month.
He said: “I haven’t sat down and spoken to anyone just because we’re still in the motion of the year. It’s not the end yet.
“It’s important now to try and keep the motivation up high, so when I went back I did the normal things that I do, but I spoke to Ron and me and Ron, we’re planning to meet up I think it’s in Abu Dhabi. We’ll go for dinner, have a good chat.”
Dennis and McLaren have backed Hamilton since he was a successful 13-year-old kart racer.
Dennis, who handed over management of the racing team to Martin Whitmarsh in 2009, took a paternal interest in Hamilton’s career and gave him his F1 debut in 2007, when he almost won the championship at the first attempt.
But their relationship developed cracks as Hamilton, the sport’s first black world champion, struggled to cope with the demands from McLaren, Dennis and his father, Anthony, who was then also his manager.
Hamilton told reporters in South Korea 10 days ago that he had not spoken to Dennis about his decision to leave McLaren.
Talking to reports in Delhi on Wednesday, Hamilton added: “I’m very sad that we’ve not been able to win another World Championship. I feel that we, as a team, are good enough to have done so and I feel that I’m good enough to have done so.
“For whatever reason, it hasn’t happened and I’m not going to complain.. For the rest of the year it’s just to try and help the team win the constructors’ championship.
“Realistically we are too far away to win the drivers’. If we did through some kind of miracle, then I’ll eat my words.”