- Brazilian Grand Prix
Hamilton will be missed by McLaren, says Paddy Lowe
The 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix marks the end of a long and successful McLaren career for Lewis Hamilton, at least for the forseeable future.
Often dubbed as the team's 'favourite son', Hamilton was signed up by Ron Dennis as an 11-year-old boy. One drivers' championship and 21 race victories later and Hamilton brings down the curtain on the McLaren chapter of his career at Interlagos on Sunday.
McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe has worked with Hamilton since his F1 debut in 2007 and says Hamilton will be sorely missed.
"Of course we're going to miss Lewis a great deal," said Lowe during a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in. "He's a fantastic driver and a fantastic guy. We're been through a lot of history together. Personally I've only worked with him since 2007 but that's been six years of fantastic racing and great successes and some tough times as well. But we'll all miss him as he's the most fantastic driver.
"We wish him the best for the future and we will look forward after Brazil to next year. Things change in the world, that's how life is but we look forward to a great season next year when Sergio [Perez] arrives and there's great promise there."
After Hamilton's superb victory at the inaugural US Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas, Lowe says there is every chance that McLaren can get both drivers on the first two steps of the podium and end the season on a high.
"We're optimistic. There's no reason why we can't carry forward the pace we showed at the weekend in Austin into Brazil. There's promise of rain, which will of course add a new element but we'll be pushing very hard to win the race, not just with Lewis as Jenson is equally capable of winning in Brazil and we're going there to get two guys on the podium and hopefully on the top two steps."
Should Lowe's perfect weekend materialise, McLaren stand to gain significantly in terms of financial reward, with second place in the constructors' standings worth in the region of $10 million in Concorde Agreement Prize Money.
"We will admit that one of our prime objectives for this weekend is to overhaul Ferrari in the constructors' so there will be some interesting things to watch around that. We need to get both of our cars ahead of both Ferraris with the points gap that exists. With it raining that will make it even more interesting but that's what we have to do."