x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Lewis Hamilton puts his 'hands up' after Twitter fiasco

British driver says sorry to his McLaren teammate after jumping the gun on social media platform.

Hamilton says he hopes to learn from his experience.
Hamilton says he hopes to learn from his experience.

MOKPO, South Korea // We may be in South Korea, but it was good, old-fashioned British humble pie that appeared on the menu in the McLaren-Mercedes garage yesterday as Lewis Hamilton came face to face with Jenson Button for the first time since his embarrassing faux pas that saw him accuse his teammate of "unfollowing" him on Twitter and lacking respect.

The two English drivers are both aware they will be competing for rival teams next season as Hamilton heads for Mercedes-GP, while Button remains at McLaren.

The switch has seen a certain tension emanate from the English marque and Hamilton's accusatory tweets were not greeted well by staff.

On Monday, Hamilton had tweeted: "Just noticed @jensonbutton unfollowed, thats a shame. After 3 years as teammates, I thought we respected one another, but clearly he doesn't."

He later added: "Funny thing is, we are STILL teammates! All good tho, I plan on giving this team & fans all I got til I cross the finish line in brazil!!!"

After realising his mistake, Hamilton apologised, posting: "My bad, just found out Jenson never followed me. Don't blame him! Need to be on Twitter more!"

Hamilton immediately sought out Button to apologise on arrival at the Korea International Circuit yesterday.

"Obviously it was not the best of experiences, or the best thing to do," he said.

"I just had to put my hands up and say I made a mistake. Sometimes you do that; you say things in the heat of the moment and you don't mean what you say. Nothing I can do about it, I apologised and we move forward."

Button accepted yesterday's apology, but said he found the whole saga humorous.

"People have their own opinion ... for me it is just amazing that we are sat here talking about it. Lewis came and apologised which is good. "You have to be careful what you put on Twitter. We've got more than a million followers and the thing is, anybody can follow you."

Hamilton said he will reassess how he uses the platform in future after also causing anger at this year's Belgian Grand Prix when he tweeted a photo of confidential telemetry data from his own and Button's qualifying laps.

"Maybe Twitter is not the one for me, but I'll try and improve from it," he said.

"I try to stay away from all the stories. Sure there's been a lot of heat this week; that's the price you pay for being in this sport. It was an experience, which I'll hopefully learn from."

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

 

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