Lewis Hamilton in trouble on and off track

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

Spa-Francorchamps

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?
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Parker says: 'I once had a taster use the phrase 'smells like the sex glands of a lemming'. Who in the world can relate to that?'
food + drinkRobert Parker's 100-point scale is a benchmark of achievement for wine-makers everywhere
News
i100
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
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing