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Hamilton quit talk denied

MCLAREN played down a report that its world champion Lewis Hamilton had threatened to quit Formula One in disgust over a lying controversy.

Britain's Sunday Times newspaper claimed that the 24-year-old had contacted International Automobile Federation president Max Mosley to "express his frustration" at being "misled" by the team. It said the Briton had suggested he was so disenchanted with events that he was considering leaving the Mercedes-powered team and the sport, with the world motor sport head then advising him not to.

Hamilton had earlier been stripped of the third place awarded to him at the Australian season-opener last week after a stewards enquiry that demoted Toyota's Italian Jarno Trulli from the podium to 12th. A subsequent hearing at the Malaysian Grand Prix found the Briton and the team had deliberately misled the stewards in Melbourne.

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said he had spoken to Mosley and Hamilton's father Anthony and was satisfied the report was incorrect.

Since boyhood

"The first I knew of it was this morning," he said. "We have asked Anthony only five minutes ago if this is true and Anthony has told us that Lewis has not spoken to Max. On Friday morning both I and Anthony spoke to Max ... but I am told that Lewis has not."

Asked how he saw Hamilton's future at a team that has supported him since boyhood and whether there had been discussions, Whitmarsh said: "I have obviously spoken to Lewis and Anthony on quite a few occasions. ... There has been no hint of what is reported," he said.

Whitmarsh said his future was in the hands of Mercedes and other shareholders.

"I'm not resigning this weekend. In the longer term, I can contemplate my own future. Of course it's not self-determining. It's for the shareholders of this team to take a view and they will have to decide what's the best thing," Whitmarsh added.

Mercedes motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug said the German manufacturer would discuss the situation after the weekend.


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