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Hamilton could leave McLaren UPDATE #2 (GMM)  As feared by his McLaren team, Lewis Hamilton's first appearance for the media in Shanghai only sparked new controversy.

Observers of the press huddle in China said the reigning world champion seemed guarded and uncomfortable, and at least two newspapers described his answer about his future at McLaren as "coy".

The Times said Hamilton's less than 4-minute press meeting showed his "hostile" side.

Twice asked to confirm that he will commit fully to his long-term contract, the Briton said only that he is "happy where I am".

"A simple 'yes' would have taken the heat off him," former McLaren driver David Coulthard told the BBC.

The Daily Telegraph said Hamilton had given a "lukewarm response".

"He was clearly still disenchanted with life in formula one," the Daily Mail said.

The newspaper said Hamilton's answer about his future was "conspicuously non-committal and terse from a driver who has traditionally claimed that he wished to remain with the team for life".

Hamilton also said he was "surprised" but "not disappointed" about Ron Dennis' decision to step down completely.  "I was surprised as I hadn't heard about it.  But I am not going to fight it," The Sun quotes him as saying.

04/17/09 As expected, this rumor is downgraded to 'false' today.  Lewis Hamilton says he has no intention of leaving McLaren, despite being shocked by the departure of his mentor Ron Dennis. The current world champion has been dogged by rumors that he is frustrated with his team's poor performances this year and is keen to leave. And those suggestions grew louder earlier this week when Dennis, who has masterminded Hamilton's career since he was 13-years-old, stepped down as chief executive of McLaren.

However, although Hamilton admits he was surprised by the announcement, he insists he will fulfill his five-year contract with the Woking-based team.

"I am contracted to the team and happy where I am," he said after practice for the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.  Of course, Ron has been a huge force and support in my life, and he still plays a key role in my life.  I wasn't disappointed when I heard he was leaving. I was surprised, but I had not heard about it. I was just as surprised as the rest of my team. I don't know why he decided to do it now."

04/06/09 Lewis Hamilton landed at Heathrow on Monday afternoon, final destination still unknown.

His father, and manager, Anthony is contemplating moving his son away from McLaren after the team’s role in the ‘liargate’ controversy which dominated the build-up to Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

Hamilton Snr is still fuming at how the world champion came to ‘deliberately mislead’ the stewards over his actions in the closing laps of the Australian race a week earlier.

Lewis, along with McLaren sporting director Dave Ryan, who has been suspended and is expected to be paid off for his silence, lied about how Jarno Trulli of Toyota came to pass him under the safety car in Melbourne.

Was Lewis merely following orders from McLaren to fabricate?

Hamilton Snr maintains that he was. Could Lewis have stuck to his own moral code and defied the instruction? Hamilton Snr maintains that contractual obligations prohibited such defiance.

Whatever conclusions you draw, the Hamiltons remain furious, and Lewis’s future - if not immediately, then at the end of the season - is on a knife-edge, not least because his current McLaren car is desperately slow.

Lewis, who will hold meetings at McLaren’s Woking HQ on Tuesday, is chastened by the experiences of last week, even if many believe that the emotional apology he issued on Friday owed more to being rumbled than to genuine remorse.  More at Mail Online

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