McLaren has made contact with Sergio Perez as it explores potential replacements for Lewis Hamilton, according to the Mail on Sunday.

16055 - McLaren 'makes contact' with Perez

Hamilton's future has been the subject of much speculation since just before the Italian Grand Prix, when Eddie Jordan claimed he was on the verge of a switch to Mercedes when his McLaren contract runs out at the end of this season. While Hamilton ignored the rumours to win at Monza, Perez was a close second with another hugely impressive drive securing his third podium of the season.

The report today claims McLaren is becoming tired of the approach to negotiations taken by Hamilton's management XIX Entertainment. Although a member of the Ferrari Driving Academy, Perez was recently described as being too inexperienced to race for Ferrari next season by chairmen Luca di Montezemolo.

It now appears McLaren has been keeping an eye on Perez, with the report stating: "Only a week after McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh admitted the team did not have a 'Plan B', it is understood contact has been made with Perez as Hamilton ponders a £60million offer from Mercedes."

The report goes on to claim that the move for Perez marks "the beginning of the end game" and that "Hamilton may find his future is taken out of his own hands with the spectre of Perez being courted by McLaren, who do not want to be outmanoeuvred by the 27-year-old British driver."