Should he stay or should he go? | McLaren Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton should stay put, at least for the moment, with exit talk recently emerging in the media. (Image | Top News)

In a response to Andrew Benson’s article on the BBC Sport website, Billy Sexton believes it best for Lewis Hamilton to stay with McLaren Mercedes for the time being.

Benson acknowledges that former F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton is frustrated with the failure of his team to provide him with a World Championship-winning car since he took his maiden title in 2008.

With Hamilton out of contract at McLaren at the end of this season and hungry for a second title, Benson points out that he has the option to switch teams, as a number of seats are expected to become available at the sharp end of the grid.

The F1 driver market relies upon a catalyst every season in order for moves to be made and contracts to be signed. This season is somewhat different, as a number of contracts are expiring and a major shake up of the grid seems likely. It seems all but confirmed that Felipe Massa will leave Ferrari, leaving a vacant drive there.

Michael Schumacher, after a dismal return to a sport he once dominated, could retire for good. Mark Webber, meanwhile, may end his relationship with Red Bull as the prospect of a seat at Ferrari looms ever larger for the Australian.

Therefore, if we include Hamilton in this list of drivers, there are places at McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes. It would be completely foolish on Hamilton’s part to switch to either Red Bull or Ferrari at present. Red Bull has an incredibly talented driver in the shape of Sebastian Vettel and they will not be looking to sign a team-mate that could upset the comfortable environment Vettel currently enjoys.

A similar case exists at Ferrari: it was made clear at the 2010 German Grand Prix that Fernando Alonso is their priority driver and Stefano Domenicali undoubtedly dreams of the double world champion dominating in a Ferrari just as Schumacher did a decade ago. As Benson rightly points out, there is mutual respect between Hamilton and Alonso, despite the tumultuous season they spent as team-mates.

As has been the case in history, putting two world-class drivers in a team has not made for easy management. Red Bull and Ferrari will be wary of signing Hamilton so long as their current number one driver remains under contract.

Frustration | Hamilton has been unimpressed by the car McLaren have been able to produce, but whether the right switch would be possible remains to be seen. (Image | Sport Live)

Therefore if Hamilton wants to jump ship at the end of this season, he’s left solely with the option of Mercedes. Unless Mercedes comprehensively beat McLaren in the constructor’s championship or Schumacher or Rosberg belittles Hamilton in the driver’s battle, it would be unwise for Hamilton to join the German outfit.

Benson highlights how Hamilton will be wary of the sizeable pay checks teams like Ferrari and Mercedes will be able to offer but let’s stress that he is not Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton would probably sacrifice a year’s salary for another world championship. Plus, McLaren aren’t short of money: they’ll also be able to offer Hamilton a lucrative deal.

Benson finishes his article as follows: “Hamilton has some tough decisions to make in the next few weeks.” He doesn’t. Should the 27-year-old have his head screwed on, Hamilton will stay with the team that has nurtured his career since the age of 11 and provided him with a car with the ability to win races in every season he’s competed in.

If the rumours are true that Vettel is out of contract at the end of 2014 and set to join Ferrari, then Lewis may have some “tough decisions” to make then, should Red Bull remain competitive with Adrian Newey still designing their cars. Until that time arrives, he ought to stay put.

Twitter | @billysexton

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