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Ecclestone hopes for Hamilton revival

ESPNF1 Staff
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Bernie Ecclestone: "As it happens Lewis is my type of driver; he's a racer" © Sutton Images
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Bernie Ecclestone hopes Lewis Hamilton will be back to his best in 2012 but admits that Jenson Button could beat him once again.

Hamilton was off-form on a number of occasions throughout 2011 as issues in his personal life affected his performance on track. With Button finishing the year as runner-up to Sebastian Vettel in 2011 it was the first time Hamilton had been beaten across a season by his team-mate in Formula One. Ecclestone said he hopes that he's sorted the off-track problems, but admitted that he could see Hamilton thinking about leaving McLaren if he struggles once again.

"We'll have to wait and see (if he's back to his best) for a little bit," Ecclestone told Sky Sports News. "I think he split up with his girlfriend a little bit and she was a long way away, which is not easy, having somebody as far away as she was with him here and him travelling as well which is even worse. So to have that sort of relationship I imagine is not so easy. So I hope that's all come to an end and he can get his head round Formula One.

"If he has a bad year - which I sincerely hope he doesn't - he might think 'Well maybe my days at McLaren are coming to an end' or vice versa maybe McLaren might think the same; time for a divorce ... I imagine if he wasn't delivering they may, it depends what the alternative is, it depends who is available to them."

When asked where Hamilton would go, Ecclestone could only envisage two options.

"It depends an awful on what Ferrari do and whether they'd want him or whether he'd want to be at Ferrari, and in fact what Red Bull do; if Mark stays or Mark goes. They're the two teams obviously."

When asked who he would make favourite out of the two McLaren drivers, Ecclestone admitted Button could be the one who gets the edge.

"Early days. I mean I was very surprised; Jenson did a good job last year. He certainly looks after the car better and the tyres and everything else. As it happens Lewis is my type of driver; he's a racer. Where I think somebody like Jenson is more like Michael perhaps."