Jenson Button touted as favourite to step in for Fernando Alonso at Monaco GP

Phil Duncan
Jenson Button may come out of retirement – for one race - EPA

Lewis Hamilton has called on his former team McLaren to bring Jenson Button back to the Formula One fold as a replacement for Fernando Alonso at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Button, the 2009 world champion, is an ambassador for the British team and the leading candidate to fill Alonso's cockpit when he heads to the United States for the Indianapolis 500 on May 28.

McLaren insist a decision is yet to be taken on the identity of Alonso's substitute, but the gathering feeling here in Bahrain is that Button, who competed in more than 300 races, will be called upon for the Monte Carlo race.

Button, 37, treated last season's concluding grand prix in Abu Dhabi as his final one in the sport, but Hamilton who partnered his compatriot for three seasons at McLaren, is keen for him to race one more time.

"It's great that a driver is able to do the Indy 500 and I think us drivers should be able to do more than one series," Hamilton said ahead of the third round of the championship in the desert.

"There was a period in the past when drivers were able to do multiple series so I think it is pretty cool.

"I hope Jenson comes back and it would be great for the sport to have him back in. I like Jenson and he is still one of the best drivers, and his calibre and experience is way ahead of the other drivers able to take that spot, for sure."

Fernando Alonso will miss the Monaco Grand Prix while he races the Indy 500 Credit: EPA

Alonso's decision to take part in the 101st Indy 500 leaves a vacant seat alongside Stoffel Vandoorne, the Belgian who replaced Button at McLaren this season.

"The decision is not in my hands, and I am sure the team have got everything under control," said Vandoorne, who was sitting to the left of Hamilton in the air-conditioned sanctuary of the press conference room with the paddock sweltering in 40 degree heat.

"I have no idea who it will be. The team will pick the right driver."

Outside of Button, the options for McLaren appear slim. Oliver Turvey, is their 30-year-old test and development driver but is unlikely to be in the mix, while exciting British teenager Lando Norris, 17, who signed to the team's young driver academy earlier this year, is too young under the sport's rules.

Nico Rosberg, the defending champion who retired just five days after beating Hamilton to the title, could be a wildcard. McLaren would be able to run the number one on their car, while Rosberg, 31, lives in Monte Carlo.

The German's camp, however, claim McLaren have not been in touch.

For Hamilton, his task will be on cementing his championship charge against Sebastian Vettel after beating the Ferrari driver to victory in China last week.

Vettel, who was unavailable here on Thursday as his Ferrari team continue their limited dealings with the media, is tied on points with Hamilton after sharing one victory each from the opening two rounds.

"It has been an awesome season so far," Hamilton, who spent time in Dubai before arriving in Bahrain on Thursday, added.

Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the second race of the season, the Chinese GP Credit: REUTERS

"We are still working very hard collectively as a team to continue at that level. Ferrari have shown tremendous pace and at the first race in Australia in race trim they were very quick - particularly on a hot circuit - so the gap is going to be even closer here."

Meanwhile, Bernie Ecclestone is expected back in a Formula One paddock for the first time since he was deposed as the sport's long-term ruler by new owners Liberty Media on Friday.

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