Lewis Hamilton foul-mouthed Snapchat story criticised by reporters for 'lack of respect' during press conference

Hamilton was distracted by his own mobile phone during the drivers' press conference for the Japanese Grand Prix

Jack de Menezes
Thursday 06 October 2016 11:45
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Lewis Hamilton on snapchat during press conference

Lewis Hamilton has been criticised by the Formula 1 media circus for showing a lack of respect during the drivers’ press conference ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix after he became distracted by taking Snapchat selfies.

Hamilton’s Snapchat feed displayed a number of pictures of himself and the other drivers in the media briefing with various filters being used along with the inclusion of a swear word, with the three-time world champion being captured by television broadcasters laughing to himself and former McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso, who was sat next to him.

With Kimi Raikkonen, Carlos Sainz, Pascal Wehrlein and Jolyon Palmer completing the line-up, a number of reporters began to question the drivers as is the normal practice on a Thursday afternoon ahead of a race weekend. The main topic was unsurprisingly Hamilton’s chances of fighting back in the drivers’ championship battle with Nico Rosberg after he lost a nailed-on 25 points last weekend when his Mercedes engine blew up 15 points from home.

With Mercedes confirming in the morning that the cause of problem was a big-end bearing failure, journalists were keen to see if Hamilton still had faith in his team to deliver a reliable car capable of battling for the world championship.

But instead, the 31-year-old occupied his time with his mobile phone, and left a message for his fans that read “This s*** is killing me” along with pictures of himself and the other drivers depicted as rabbits and foxes.

Hamilton occupied himself during the press conference by playing with his mobile phone
Hamilton shows Alonso his Snapchat story during the press conference

Hamilton also took a picture of Bradley Lord, the head of Mercedes-Benz motorsports communications, along with the caption: “Bradley – could this interview be any more boring. I wonder if I will have time to go to B&Q on Monday, need a new sofa.”

Unsurprisingly, Hamilton’s antics have not been received well by the journalists in the press conference. The Sun’s Ben Hunt questioned Hamilton’s failure to show respect for both those in attendance and his use of foul language on a platform where many of his fans will be children, while The Times’s Kevin Eason noted the large Formula 1 following in Japan that will have been keen to hear from the three-time world champion.

Hamilton took to his own Twitter account to respond to the criticism, and while he offered advice on how the press conferences could become more engaging for fans, he accused his critics of taking themselves too seriously.

“Today was meant to be fun, not at all disrespectful. Some people take themselves to [sic] seriously. I had a blast, highlight of my day!

“Re press conference, it's been the same for 10 years. It's not the media or mediator, it's the format. Fans should be asking the questions!!”

The incident has certainly deflected attention away from Hamilton’s engine woes this season and, in particular, his sensational claim last weekend that someone within the Mercedes team was deliberately sabotaging his championship campaign – a claim he later retracted by saying his troubles are an act of God.

Some Twitter users defender Hamilton and claimed that he was simply engaging with fans in a way that the drivers’ press conference does not, while others took aim at the journalists in the room for not asking intriguing questions. However, Hunt also pointed out that many print reporters will not ask their questions in the live broadcast in order to avoid the answers being screened worldwide long before their respective newspapers are published, a common practice across all sports.

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