Lewis Hamilton in trouble on and off track

McLaren reprimand crash driver for giving away technical details to rivals via Twitter


Lewis Hamilton found himself in hot water here yesterday, and then found himself in the gravel. The contrast in fortune between McLaren's drivers could scarcely have been more stark as Jenson Button won the Belgian Grand Prix from the front and Hamilton was taken out on the first lap.

Beneath the victorious post-race smiles there was tension in the team's camp after Hamilton followed up a series of tweets on Saturday by posting on Twitter an overlay of his qualifying lap and Button's that supported his view of how much benefit the latter derived from the rear wing that he chose.

It is thought that Hamilton posted the telemetry not to suggest that Button had been favoured but to illustrate the difference in performance between the two wings. He had freely admitted that he chose to go with the higher downforce configuration, which cost him top speed.

"In free practice I had some instability with the new wing that we tried," Hamilton explained. "At the time, we had a relatively big gap between ourselves and the Red Bulls and the Ferrari, so we felt on our side of the garage that we should try something to fix it. For us, there was potential to go to the wing that we used in the last race. We believed that the gap between those two wings wasn't so big, but we proved ourselves wrong."

McLaren's engineering management were angered that such sensitive information as suspension settings and ride heights was placed in the public domain by their own driver. It will be highly illuminating to rivals who spend heavily seeking to match or beat McLaren and are keen to learn as much as possible about the intricate details of their on-track performance. Hamilton was immediately instructed to remove the information, but it created bad feeling within McLaren at a time when everyone needs to pull in the right direction to maximise raceday performance as they chase after series leaders Fernando Alonso and Ferrari, and the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

"We didn't ask Lewis to remove yesterday's tweets," team principal Martin Whitmarsh stressed, "but we did ask him to remove this morning's telemetry tweets." Hamilton subsequently took down many of his comments, which contained the sort of colloquialisms that abound on the social networking site, such as the acronym WTF. He said that he had done this of his own volition after reflecting on the suitability of such expressions.

While Button's fortunes picked up, Hamilton's race was a disaster. Lotus driver Romain Grosjean, who has been involved in a series of incidents on his return to Formula One this season, pushed Hamilton's McLaren onto the grass to the right of the track just after the start, and as Hamilton half spun he inadvertently pushed Grosjean into contact with Alonso's Ferrari. As Grosjean then went over the back of Sergio Perez's Sauber before cartwheeling across the front of Alonso's cockpit, Hamilton was thrown into contact with the Ferrari and then with Kamui Kobayashi's Sauber. After debating the matter after the race, the stewards banned Grosjean for one race.

Though he clearly remonstrated with the Frenchman in the immediate aftermath, Hamilton declined to comment about the incident later on. "I've had a lot worse than that," he said. "But I don't want to talk about the start crash. Just congratulations to Jenson, he did a fantastic race. It looked like a walk in the park for him. It's great to see that the team had the pace and I've got to try to pull that out of my car in the next race."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power