Hamilton Praises Kovalainen as Teammate & Friend
The reigning world champion therefore gave Kovalainen a hand in the latter's attempt to seal an extension to his current deal with McLaren, as latest rumors suggested Nico Rosberg is very close of inking a deal with the Mercedes-backed team as well.
Mercedes' motorsport director Norbert Haug himself admitted, a few days ago, that Kovalainen should take nothing for granted this season, and he made it very clear that the Fin is racing for his 2010 seat for the remainder of the season. Hamilton, in turn, publicly stated his appreciation for the Finnish driver, saying he is a strong teammate to work with.
“I've heard about it but I am very content with Heikki as my teammate. He is focused, friendly and very talented. He is very strong and is helping to move the team forwards. I enjoy working with him and I hope that he stays,” Hamilton was quoted as saying by German newspaper Sport Bild.
Haug insisted, however, that whoever will replace Kovalainen at McLaren – if such a move will happen at the end of the year – will have a hard time keeping up with the reigning world champion.
“Lewis is completely clearly one of the strongest drivers in the field. We have seen him in direct comparison with Fernando Alonso, who is still regarded by many as the best of them all,” said the Mercedes official.
Rosberg reiterated his desire to consider all the options for a 2010 seat, as he is currently in his last year of contract with Williams F1 Team. The German had the chance to join McLaren at the end of 2007, but turned it down due to his contractual obligations towards Frank Williams' outfit.