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McLaren 'closer' to new Hamilton contract

ESPN Staff
August 14, 2012 « Bottas eyes long Williams future | Silverstone aims to raise £150m »
Lewis Hamilton went in to the mid-season break on a high having reignited his title challenge with victory in Hungary © Getty Images
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McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale has revealed that the team is in talks with Lewis Hamilton and "closer" to an agreement over a new contract.

Hamilton's future has been the subject of intense speculation throughout the season, and although he highlighted some crucial items that needed to be discussed, Hamilton said he expected to sit down with the team during the mid-season break to try and agree a new deal. Neale has now confirmed that those talks are taking place and have been progressing well.

"We are closer," Neale told Sky Sports. "And of course we are in dialogue at the moment, but for obvious reasons I can't speculate more than that at the moment. We are working very hard to find a common ground there."

When asked if both sides want to extend Hamilton's stay, Neale replied: "Very much so. Very much so."

Neale also said that he feels Hamilton is in a strong position in the championship as he sits 49 points behind Fernando Alonso and expects him to challenge right up until the end of the season.

"Mathematically [the championship is] still possible. 25 points for a win is a good place to be and it doesn't take much to switch those. We've got a quick car; our car was in better shape than the Ferrari at the last race. He's a fighter, he loves a challenge, he just needs a sniff at it to feel that the team is behind him and pushing. I think as long as he feels that we are pushing the upgrades of the car and dealing with the issues as they arise he'll fight to the end."