MONZA, Italy, Sept 10, 2012 (AFP) - Lewis Hamilton's Formula One future was the main talking point in the Monza paddock on Sunday after the Englishman's emphatic Italian Grand Prix victory.
Amid speculation that the 2008 world champion might be leaving McLaren at the end of the season to join rival team Mercedes, his victory may well have
strengthened the English-based team's attempts to re-sign him.
The 27-year-old's victory was the team's third in succession and catapulted Hamilton to second in the drivers' standings just 37 points behind championship leader Ferrari's Fernando Alonso of Spain, while McLaren edged ever closer to threatening Red Bull's grasp on the constrictor's title.
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh played down the significance Hamilton's victory might play in future contract talks and insisted the team's focus was
on securing a strong result in Singapore in a fortnight.
"We have proven this weekend that there were reasonable attempts to distract and they have failed," said Whitmarsh, "so I don't think there is any
distraction, and we have got to carry on trying to win races."
Whitmarsh argued that Hamilton's future ambitions would be best served staying with McLaren and remained confident that it was only a matter of time
before he would re-sign.
"My feeling is that this is a great team for Lewis to stay in," he said.
"He has got to want to stay here, and we will figure that one out when we've had some celebrations.
"I think we are working together well. We are a winning team, he is a winning driver and we are a great driver together."
He added that the team were in no rush to secure Hamilton and played down suggestions that they had already begun to consider other options.
"I think we are a winning team, Lewis is a winning driver and there is a lot of sense in us working together.
"We have a finite amount of time and I haven't, I hope, wasted any of that on matters other than on working together, having a quick car, winning races
and winning championships."
McLaren group chairman Ron Dennis also believes Hamilton's future would be best served at McLaren.
He added: "It would be totally inappropriate for me to say anything that would undermine Martin's position.
"It's his job to get to where we want to get to and I'm sure he'll have a better position now having demonstrated yet again that we've got a very strong car. If Lewis is absolutely committed to winning then he can win in a McLaren."