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Hamilton set for first factory return

16 October 2012

Lewis Hamilton is set to his first visit to McLaren's factory in Woking since announcing he would leave the team at the end of the season.

Hamilton confirmed last month that he would move to Mercedes for the 2013 season, ending a relationship with McLaren that has run for some 14 years.

It emerged during the Korean GP weekend that Hamilton hadn't yet spoken to the team back in Woking due to the fact that the announcement came at the start of the fly-away events on the calendar, although the Briton is now due back at base to use the simulator before the next event in India.

Much has been made of Hamilton's standing within the team since the announcement he was to move on, but speaking to Reuters, team boss Martin Whitmarsh said he fully expected Hamilton to be given a good send-off by the team.

"Of course people were disappointed to lose someone like Lewis but Lewis has been here a long time and everyone is going to be giving everything for him," he said. "One way or another I'm sure we'll get together and remember lots of fantastic achievements, many race wins, many poles, many great races and a great world championship in 2008.

"He's loved in this team and he knows that."

Hamilton's McLaren team-mate Jenson Button was also keen to point out his support for the Briton after being quoted by a reporter as saying that 'Sergio wouldn't have been late' when Hamilton was late for a media briefing in Japan at the weekend.

Button did however admit that he felt Hamilton wasn't making the right decision in leaving McLaren for pastures new.

"I didn't say a word of that,” Button said. “He (the reporter) said (also) that 'Lewis feels like he's left the team.' I don't think Lewis feels like that either.

"It's amazing how people are so opinionated about what they see happening within this team with the drivers. None of it is true in the slightest. The atmosphere in the team is fantastic and as far as I see with Lewis, he's focused and wants to win races.

"He's chosen to go his own way at the end of the year and that's his decision. I personally don't feel it's the right decision but it's his. The team will do everything they can to help him win grands prix because that's what they love doing.

"He's won a world championship with this team, they've got a great relationship."


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