Hamilton has little to say before Japanese Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton mused last Sunday that a “higher power” may not want him to win the world championship this year, but from a bizarre press conference yesterday it appeared there is a different Holy Trinity in the world champion’s life, the Holy Trinity of social media: Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.
In Sepang’s TV pen, you could not stop him talking after his engine blew while leading the Malaysian Grand Prix, hinting at a grand conspiracy against him. But at Suzuka he had nothing to say, glued to his phone, while simply referring people to a series of social media posts which lavished praise on Mercedes just days after he publicly embarrassed them.
This was his latest line of resistance as he attempted to row back from incendiary remarks which led millions to believe the three-time champion thought Mercedes were working against him.
At least he can laugh in the face of his fraught championship position, 23 points behind team-mate Nico Rosberg with five races to go.
After using a filter on Snapchat, the video and picture-sharing phone application, which adds drawn-on bunny ears and whiskers to a person’s head - in this case Hamilton and the driver sat behind him, Carlos Sainz - the 31-year-old wiped away the tears of laughter and wrote: “This s--- is killing me”.
In Rosberg’s press conference back in the Mercedes hospitality unit, Hamilton posted a picture of the team’s head of communications, Bradley Lord - replete with fox ears - with the message: “Bradley - could this interview be any more boring. I wonder if I’ll have time to go to B&Q on Monday, need a new sofa.”
But this is Hamilton’s increasingly odd style. He has been liberated by Mercedes and is under less pressure to toe the corporate line than in the McLaren years.
Asked about the race which dealt a major blow to his title chances, Hamilton replied: “I’ve made a point on my Instagram so I don’t really have much more to say about it.”
Then quizzed on what message he had for his legions of fans who had cried foul after last Sunday’s race, he added: “Well, they just go on my Instagram. I’ve put all my feelings on there. They have the right to their own opinion but as you see from my posts, you see how passionate I am about this team and about my guys.”
In a series of posts, Hamilton professed his love for Mercedes and his gratitude for the work of his mechanics and engineers. He claimed this had been planned for weeks.
Those same engineers have spent the last few days getting to the bottom of why Hamilton’s engine blew 15 laps from the end in Sepang. The team found it suffered a big-end bearing failure, prompting them to change how they will run this weekend.
Hamilton has won here the last two years and needs to make it three if he is to have any chance of overhauling Rosberg and making it to a fourth title this year.
Hamilton later tweeted he had not meant to be “disrespectful” in the press conference.
“Today was meant to be fun, not at all disrespectful,” he said. “Some people take themselves too seriously.”