Lewis Hamilton has had a tough past two weeks with engine failure at the Malaysian Grand Prix robbing his chances of catching up with Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in the driver’s championship. And those problems now escalated to off the track issues too. In the post qualifying press conference at Suzuka, where Hamilton qualified second on the grid, the British driver declared he would be reducing his press interactions in the aftermath of the criticism he received for his monosyllabic responses on Thursday.
In the official pre-race press conference for Japanese Grand Prix, Hamilton spent most of the time responding with minimal answers and played with his phone including taking and posting pictures on Snapchat with fellow driver Carlos Sainz Jr. Where world media found it “disrespectful”, Hamilton said it was intended to be a “super light-hearted thing”. With the press condemning his behaviour, Lewis lashed out that what was being written was “more disrespectful”.
As a result, he said “Unfortunately the decision I will take unfortunately affects those who have been super-supportive, so that is why I am saying with the utmost respect.”
“But I don’t really plan on sitting here many more times for these kind of things. So my apologies and I hope you guys enjoy the rest of your weekend.”
— Phil Duncan (@PhilDuncanF1) 8 October 2016
He then proceeded to walk out of the press conference. The scenes unfolded in the Mercedes paddock post the qualifying session.
On Thursday when queried what he was doing on his phone, before the Snapchat images surfaced, he said: “It’s quite funny, just some snaps of us drivers, it’s quite funny. That’s about it.”
“Hey man, we’ve been doing this a long long time and it’s the same each time so got to keep adding new things to it.”
Rosberg leads Hamilton by 23 points with five races to go and 125 points still on offer.