6 Sep 2012

Hamilton set to leave McLaren

6:59 am on 6 September 2012

The British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of leaving McLaren to drive for Mercedes next season.

The BBC's F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan says Hamilton will replace Michael Schumacher, who will retire from driving for a second time at the end of the year.

Hamilton's season has been hampered by early-season operational errors by McLaren which cost him about 40 points, and at the weekend in Belgium he was taken out in a start-line collision caused by Lotus's Romain Grosjean.

Hamilton is now 47 points behind world championship leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari with 200 available in the remaining eight races.

If Hamilton left McLaren, it would leave the team with a huge hole to fill.

Among the candidates for the vacancy alongside Jenson Button would be Scot Paul di Resta, currently at Force India, and Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen.