Hamilton rumours 'not impeding McLaren'

McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton are adamant that the storm of speculation about the latter's 2013 plans is not distracting them from their world championship bid.

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McLaren Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain is seen after the second practice session of the Italian F1 Grand Prix at the Monza circuit (Reuters)

The possibility of Hamilton ending his career-long relationship with McLaren to join Mercedes next season has dominated paddock conversation at Monza this weekend.

After going first and second fastest in Friday practice in Italy, Button and Hamilton underlined that off-track talk was at the back of their minds.

"Morale in the team is good, we just want to race," said Button.

"I think I've shown that whatever is going on off the circuit you have to focus on the job in hand."

Pacesetter Hamilton said he was prioritising his 2012 title bid with McLaren over thoughts of what the future might hold.

"Other people deal with that," he said. "Occasionally it pops into your mind but then you have to keep your eye on the ball."

He believes McLaren is in good shape ahead of what both drivers predict will be a very close battle in Italy.

"We have a great car and the guys have done a great job back at the factory to tune the aerodynamic set-up," said Hamilton.

"Obviously it's is still very close between us and Ferrari and Lotus and Mercedes. We are in a good position but we need to find more time."

Button added: "[Ferrari's] pace is very good on both cars and both tyres, especially on the prime. The Mercedes is quick, as is the Lotus so it'll be interesting.

"There won't be a stand-out team or an easy qualifying session."

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