Dennis returns as Hamilton dominates qualifying

Oct.31 (GMM) McLaren chairman Ron Dennis made a timely return to a formula one paddock on Saturday, witnessing his protege Lewis Hamilton dominate qualifying for the inaugural Abu Dhabi grand prix.

The 62-year-old former long-time team boss began his exile earlier this year, apparently in a low-profile agreement with Max Mosley following the lie-gate scandal.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Abu Dhabi is the first race since 1993 without Dennis' nemesis Max Mosley in charge of the FIA. Mosley's successor Jean Todt is also trackside this weekend.

It is believed that high-level talks between McLaren and Mercedes are taking place this weekend, as the latter looks to forge a closer relationship with Brawn in 2010.

Rumours have circulated that Dennis may be closely involved with McLaren's plans for a post-Mercedes future, amid rumours the British team might buy up the withdrawing BMW's engine division.

BMW chief Mario Theissen denied the direct McLaren link earlier in Abu Dhabi, but refused to rule out the Munich manufacturer theoretically agreeing to sell parts of its F1 structure.

Meanwhile, in his first qualifying since securing the 2009 world championship two weeks ago, Jenson Button booked fifth place on Sunday's grid, behind his teammate Rubens Barrichello.

Asked whether the result was a satisfactory one for F1's new champion, he told the BBC: “No of course it's not.

“In Q3 I had massive vibrations. Hopefully we can solve it by the race,” added Button.