Christian Horner warns McLaren they will be weakened by the exit of Lewis Hamilton

But Red Bull expects Lewis to galvanize Mercedes

By Pete Gill.   Last Updated: 28/11/12 10:24am

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Hamilton poses for a farewell snap with McLaren

Hamilton poses for a farewell snap with McLaren

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Red Bull chief Christian Horner has warned McLaren that they will be a weaker team without the Mercedes-bound Lewis Hamilton.

Speaking at Red Bull's Milton Keynes base in the wake of the team's third successive title double, Horner also opined that Hamilton would remain a title contender in 2013 despite his decision to join a Mercedes outfit which has won just a single race in the last three years.

"McLaren is a weaker team without Lewis,' said Horner. "They would admit that.

"Lewis is an outstanding driver and in Lewis and Jenson Button they had a hugely strong driver line-up."

With Sergio Perez replacing Hamilton at McLaren, the 2008 World Champion will form a new partnership alongside Nico Rosberg at Mercedes next year. Like Fernando Alonso, who has predicted a Mercedes improvement after a sharp decline in form through the course of 2012, Horner feels Hamilton's arrival will galvanize the Brackley-based outfit.

"Whichever team had taken Lewis, he will be an asset,' Horner told The Daily Mail.

"Lewis will naturally bring performance to Mercedes. Fernando Alonso, Lewis and indeed Jenson are very strong threats for next year."

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