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Lewis Hamilton has admitted that the decision of Ron Dennis to leave McLaren's F1 team came as unexpected this week Dennis, who first signed Hamilton as a twelve-year-old in 1997, has stepped down as CEO for McLaren Racing as he focuses on the group's road car projects.
"I wasn't disappointed," Hamilton said. "I was surprised, as I hadn't heard about it; I was just as surprised as the rest of my team. Of course, Ron has been a huge force in supporting my life and he still plays a key role in that."
Dennis has been part of McLaren since 1980 and has witnessed title wins in his cars from Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and Mika Hakkinen before Hamilton last year. As he forms the new McLaren Automotive company, the F1 team has endured a difficult start to the new season, with an FIA hearing due on Wednesday 29 April following the 'lie-gate' saga.
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