McLaren still pushing for Hamilton title


McLaren remains committed to giving Lewis Hamilton every chance to fight for this year's championship, despite the Briton's exit from the team.

The Woking squad announced on Friday that Mexican Sergio Perez will replace Hamilton from next year, with Hamilton expected to be confirmed at Mercedes in the next hour.

Hamilton is currently fourth in the Formula 1 world championship, 52 points behind Fernando Alonso, with six races to go.

McLaren said it will do all it can to help Hamilton win the title, in spite of the 2008 champion's exit to a rival squad.

"While Sergio's career with McLaren will begin in earnest in Melbourne next year, his future team remains absolutely committed to fighting for, and providing every opportunity to both Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton to contest, the 2012 drivers' and constructors' world championships," said the team in a statement.

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh paid tribute to Hamilton, who has scored 20 wins with the team during his six-year stint in Formula 1.

"It's entirely appropriate that I should take this opportunity to pass on our thanks to Lewis," said Whitmarsh.

"He wrote a huge chapter of his life and career with us, and was, and always will be, a fine member of an exclusive club: the McLaren world champions' club.

"It goes without saying that we all wish him well for the future, just as it also goes without saying that we hope and believe that Sergio, too, will become a member of that exclusive club before too long."

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