Lewis Hamilton, who qualified in third place for the Korean Grand Prix, has admitted that he has still not spoken to his mechanics about his decision to leave McLaren, nor has he yet talked to their executive chairman, Ron Dennis, who was close to the driver and integral to bringing him under the team's umbrella when he was 13.
The driver, who was upbeat ahead of last week's race in Japan and has repeatedly stressed his determination to challenge for the title and help McLaren in their bid to catch Red Bull in the constructors' championship, has appeared more subdued since, suggesting that he may be finding seeing out his contract with McLaren less than comfortable.
He had attempted to arrange an evening out with his crew in Japan that did not come about but asked when he would speak to them, he replied: "I don't know. I am sure at one stage I will, back at the factory." He added: "There will be people who are happy I am going, some who are unhappy I am going. Some who will be sad, some who will be supportive – that's how things are." He said that while he had still not spoken to Dennis he did intend to do so.
Despite which, he felt his time with the team was coming to a close with a sense of completion, insisting: "I don't feel as though I have any unfinished business with the team. I have never felt that I have not given it my all or anything like that, because I have given it all I have."
Earlier, Jenson Button had been blunt in reaction to Hamilton's Twitter gaffe, wrongly accusing his team-mate of unfollowing him on the social networking site, saying: "I have no issue with it. He's entitled to his opinion. That's it." That suggests he has moved on from the incident but also that he is now increasingly unwilling to expend time and energy on someone who, for him as next year's No1 driver, no longer figures in his equations.
Mark Webber pipped Sebastian Vettel for pole in qualifying, by seven-hundredths of a second, with the championship leader, Fernando Alonso, in fourth. The fast-starting Ferrari is a threat to Vettel, his nearest challenger for the title, on the 250m run to the first corner, with both cars starting on the dirty side of the track. Button lined up in 11th after waved yellows on his final hot lap in Q2 cost him time.
Mercedes were fined ¤10,000 (£8,000) for their unsafe release of Michael Schumacher during qualifying. The German, who will retire at the end of the season, came out of his garage during the final minutes of Q3 just as Hamilton was heading down the pit lane.
The McLaren driver was forced to take rapid evasive action as Schumacher pulled into his path, narrowly avoiding a collision. And having examined video evidence of the incident and heard from team representatives, Mercedes were found guilty of breaching article 23.12 of the FIA sporting regulations and fined.
Schumacher was reprimanded yesterday for impeding the HRTs of Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan during second practice.
Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen is confident of remaining with Lotus, despite not yet having a deal for 2013. The Finn has starred in his return to Formula One after two seasons in the World Rally Championship, and he remains in contention for a second drivers' championship title to go with his 2007 success.
The 32-year-old said there is an open dialogue between him and the team over next season, but does not feel there is any need for them to rush, and is not concerned. "We know the situation in the team and for sure we will know at some point what is happening," he said when asked about his future.
"There are always some things we have to talk about and discuss but I mean, we have a good relationship and we are open in talking to each other, so there is no bullshit. That's the reason why I am not worried about anything. For sure we will sort it before next year."
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image: © David Wall