Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton found himself on the headlines last week for all the wrong reasons. After starting a feud with the media and eventually walking out on a press conference, Hamilton is at least being backed by his team. The Mercedes Formula One Racing team is reportedly accepting his behavior no matter how damaging it may seem to others.
“Let him do his talking on the track,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff in an interview with the BBC. “His performances in the car justify some collateral damage,” he added.
Hamilton is of course a 3-time Formula One World Champion. This season, he is second in the Drivers’ World Championship standings behind his teammate Nico Rosberg. He has performed well all season, and could have been doing better if not for a series of reliability issues.
Hamilton received massive criticism from the press on Thursday, after what was described by the BBC and many other media outlets as a distracted and bizarre press conference. The criticism resulted from some lighthearted posts that Hamilton made on snapchat, while sitting at the conference. He used a bunny filter on himself and fellow driver Carlos Sainz and proceeded to post the funny photos.
It appears that some members of the press took offense and the story spread across the globe. On Saturday, Hamilton responded by making a statement during the post-qualifying press conference.
“The other day was a super light-hearted thing, and if I was disrespectful to any of you guys, or if you felt I was disrespectful, it was honestly not the intention. It was just a little bit of fun.But what was more disrespectful was what was then written worldwide,” said Hamilton.
He then proceeded to say that he does not plan to sit at press conferences many more times in the future. As part of their obligations to the team, drivers are required to attend press briefings and other promotional events. It remains to be seen if Mercedes will strike some kind of a compromise with Lewis Hamilton, in order to get him back on PR duties for the rest of the season.