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  • Hamilton eyes three titles and $8m supercar
  • Dennis hints at reduced role at McLaren team
  • Hamilton father admits F1 quit thoughts
  • Irvine urges Ferrari switch for Hamilton
  • Stories differ as McLaren explains last laps

Hamilton eyes three titles and $8m supercar
(GMM)  The terms of their arrangement seem to have changed, but Lewis Hamilton still expects team boss Ron Dennis to give him a multi-million dollar McLaren supercar one day.

We reported earlier this year that the 23-year-old was promised by Dennis the ultra-rare orange $8 million McLaren LM, housed in the team's Woking factory, if he became the 2008 world champion.

But Hamilton told reporters in Sao Paulo on Monday morning that he will be handed the keys with his third drivers' championship.

"We made a deal, three world championships.  I will definitely work as hard as I can to get to number three," he said.

Dennis said the LM in question is among the rarest supercars in the world.

He said: "At least I don't have to give it away for a couple of years but it will be a small price to pay for three world championships."

Dennis hints at reduced role at McLaren team
(GMM)  The morning after Lewis Hamilton delivered McLaren's first drivers' title in nine years, Ron Dennis hinted he is about to step down from the helm of the formula one team.

He told reporters in Sao Paulo that he is keen to develop the company's production car program, but played down any link between the news and Hamilton's title triumph.

"Nothing that will unfold over the next few months will be as a result of yesterday," Dennis, 61, said.

He insisted that a scaled down role at McLaren-Mercedes, to almost certainly be headed in his absence by chief executive Martin Whitmarsh, will not diminish his presence at grands prix.

"You are most definitely going to see me at grands prix, it is something I like too much to take it out of my life," Dennis said.

"But I think over the next few months I will make it abundantly clear what I am doing and why I'm doing it."

He said a McLaren production car program, designed to match the success of key F1 rival Ferrari's, is very close to being launched.

"I have believed passionately in the need for a grand prix team to diversify," he said.

"We do intend to try and match the success of Ferrari and to do that we can't just be a grand prix team."

Hamilton father admits F1 quit thoughts
(GMM)  Anthony Hamilton, whose son Lewis last Sunday became Britain's first world champion in 12 years, has admitted a climate of hostility caused him to consider whether formula one was the right place to be.

The admission follows episodes of racism in Spain, boos and abusive chants in Brazil last weekend, and even negativity about his success within his native Britain.

For example, BBC's Radio 5 on Monday invited callers to come clean about what they really think of the 23-year-old McLaren driver.

It sparked a barrage of criticism about Hamilton's Swiss tax exile, his "smug and arrogant" personality, and claims that Sunday's race was a "fix" involving Toyota's Timo Glock.

"The BBC need to put their own house in order before they criticize anyone else," British F1 great Sir Stirling Moss reacted in the Daily Express newspaper.

Anthony Hamilton revealed that the atmosphere has been hurtful.

"Sometimes you wonder whether it is worth staying in formula one, even when it has been your dream for so long," he said.

"We are all human and have feelings.  When people behave as they do by taking against Lewis it hurts, and nobody wants that for people they love and care about.

"We are decent people.  I don't know why they are doing what they are doing, but I just hope god can forgive them," Hamilton added.

Irvine urges Ferrari switch for Hamilton
(GMM)  Eddie Irvine, the world championship runner-up of 1999, has urged Lewis Hamilton to consider switching to Ferrari some day.

The retired 42-year-old Ulsterman drove for the British-based Jordan team in 1995 before accepting an offer to be Michael Schumacher's Ferrari teammate.

And even though 23-year-old McLaren's Hamilton has just secured his first drivers' world title in just his second season of formula one, Irvine said driving for Ferrari should be among his future ambitions.

"He may win a couple more (titles) with McLaren and he's loyal to Ron Dennis but he's got to move to Ferrari at some point," Irvine told Virgin Media.

Part of the British media's reaction to Hamilton's championship triumph last Sunday was to predict a financial windfall for the Swiss resident -- including possibly a doubled salary ahead of 2009.

But Irvine insists that Ferrari is the place for a top grand prix star.

"Having been there, I've seen what it's like and it's a different situation to being with any other team," he said.

Stories differ as McLaren explains last laps
(GMM)  Mixed messages have emerged from McLaren figures, as the racing world digests the astonishing final laps to the 2008 world championship in Brazil last Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton needed only to finish fifth at Interlagos to be world champion, but amid a late rain shower, the Briton dropped to sixth behind Sebastian Vettel with two laps to go.

His subsequent pass at the final corner of the 71-lap race on the dry-tire shod Timo Glock is now the subject of outlandish 'race fix' claims, moving Toyota to issue a clear denial in the form of an interview with Glock sent to the media on Monday.

The message emerging from McLaren, however, is less clear, with chief executive Martin Whitmarsh offering a starkly different account than Hamilton about the final laps.

In The Times newspaper, Whitmarsh is quoted as suggesting that Hamilton was advised to "let Vettel through" in order to avoid the danger of fighting the German's Toro Rosso.

"We were saying to Lewis, don't race him, let Vettel through.  We knew we were racing Glock (and that) we should catch him on the last lap."

Hamilton, however, denies he deliberately let Vettel pass, explaining that he thought the German's move had cost him the title.

"It was very hard to keep him behind.  To have lost the position to him, there was nothing I could do.  I was pushing and pushing to get closer to him, taking more risks," Hamilton said.

"Not unnecessary risks but I knew I was in P6, I knew I was one point away from the world championship."

Contrary to Whitmarsh's account, Hamilton said he tried to urgently recover the position to Vettel, rather than wait to encounter Glock.

"'Gotta get him back', that was my first thought," he said.  "You don't have time to lose focus or think, 'Oh, God, it's gone'.  You just have to think fast, you've got two laps to get him back.

"It was close.  There were a couple of corners left and it wasn't enough."

Hamilton said he was at turn 10 of Interlagos' 15-corner layout before he was informed about the struggling Glock.

"They told me 'Glock's just ahead, he's on slick tires, he's struggling, if you can overtake him that would be great'," he said.

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