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Hamilton will continue to receive full support - Whitmarsh

ESPN Staff
October 1, 2012 « Hamilton right to move, say former stars | Ecclestone wants new engine regulation scrapped »
Martin Whitmarsh believes Lewis Hamilton can still win the world championship with McLaren this year © Press Association

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh insists Lewis Hamilton will continue to receive the full support of McLaren this season despite leaving the team at the end of the year.

Hamilton has signed to move to Mercedes in 2013, having previously spent his whole Formula One career at McLaren. Hamilton currently has an outside chance of winning the championship as he sits 52 points behind Fernando Alonso with six races left, and Whitmarsh is sure that the team remains fully behind his championship challenge.

Speaking to Sky Sports , when asked if Hamilton would continue to get the team's full support Whitmarsh said: "Yes I think very much so.

"We have a competitive car at the minute and we have six races left. We can win all of those six races and in my view we can win the Championship. So starting next week in Japan we will be focussing on that. Lewis is a great racing driver and massively competitive. He knows there are races to win and races he wants to win himself. So we will be working hard to do that."

Looking beyond the end of this season, however, Whitmarsh is excited by the prospect of pairing Sergio Perez with Jenson Button and says McLaren's task will be to ensure Perez is ready to hit the ground running.

"In Jenson we have a real proven project, a great guy and a race winner. He is someone who a couple of races ago was utterly dominant and in Sergio we have someone who is very young, he is only 22, very raw, but a fantastic natural talent.

"I've been watching him for a few years; obviously he came into Formula 1 last year, did a fastest lap in Monaco last year and had some stunning podiums this year for Sauber. Most people accept that he is the rising star of Formula 1 - so the challenge for us is to develop him before Australia next year and see if we can make him a World Champion."