Hamilton given time off to prepare for Germany



Hamilton given time off to prepare for Germany London: McLaren will give Lewis Hamilton time off ahead of next week's German Grand Prix after the 2008 Formula One champion said he feared burnout under the burden of media and sponsorship commitments.

"I think Lewis has done too much coming into this grand prix," team principal Martin Whitmarsh said after Sunday's British race at Silverstone, a disappointing afternoon for his men.

"We've managed to organise a bit of a break for him before Germany, which I know he wants. Then he has a big break after that in August as well.

"It's one of those things. He is a world superstar and lots of people want lots of his time, but we're generally being criticised for protecting him too much, aren't we?," added Whitmarsh.

Hamilton qualified only 10th on Saturday for his home race and there were plenty of long faces in the McLaren motorhome after a session that showed just how much ground the team had to make up on Red Bull and Ferrari.

The Briton was far happier on Sunday after making a storming start to the race in the damp conditions and finishing fourth with a thrilling battle to the line against Ferrari's Felipe Massa after being told by the team to save fuel.

He also managed to stay out of trouble with the stewards, something of a rarity for him this season.

"He drove a fantastic race," said Whitmarsh. "He drove without a mistake, with the right levels of passion and aggression and above all with the right level of discipline and control."

The news he would get some time off before the Nuerburgring was welcomed by Hamilton, who is 95 points adrift of Red Bull's world champion and runaway leader Sebastian Vettel and level with team mate Jenson Button in fourth with 10 races remaining.

"I was supposed to be working tomorrow (Monday) and Tuesday, and I basically said 'No way' because I've been in England like a week or whatever, so it has been quite busy here," he said after the race.

"Then I was supposed to be flying to India for a day on Wednesday, in and out within a day. Fortunately, for some reason, it got cancelled. “

"So that's good. I get to be in one place for a good period of time and do some training, get my mind clear for the next race," added the 26-year-old.

"Hopefully that gives the team some time to clarify the rules, because we lost a lot this weekend, and (Ferrari's) Fernando (Alonso) told me that they didn't lose anything, and the Red Bulls clearly didn't lose anything either.

"Hopefully we can catch it back, I don't know how we will."

The race weekend at Silverstone was overshadowed by arguments about the governing body's clampdown on engine regulations.

Under the tighter rules, teams were told they could no longer use engine electronics to gain an aerodynamic advantage by ensuring a constant flow of exhaust gases through the rear of the car even when a driver was braking.

After directive and counter-directive, the governing FIA ultimately said it would go back to the situation before Silverstone if all the teams agreed, something that was secured on Sunday afternoon.

"Whatever it (the rule) is, we'll do our best to improve the car and make sure it's competitive at the next race," said Whitmarsh.

Bureau Report