McLaren won't miss Hamilton after Button Twitter row
Hamilton's rant at team-mate was 'childish and embarrassing', but does he have a point?
LEWIS HAMILTON'S hopes of a painless exit from McLaren may have been undermined thanks to a misunderstanding on Twitter that prompted the driver to accuse his current team-mate Jenson Button of disrespect.
After finishing a disappointing fifth at the Japanese Grand Prix and seeing his chances of winning the drivers' title effectively disappear, Hamilton managed to ensure that he was still in the headlines by taking a pot shot at Button, claiming that he had 'unfollowed' him on Twitter.
"Just noticed @jensonbutton unfollowed, thats a shame. After 3 years as teammates, I thought we respected one another but clearly he doesn't," wrote a clearly vexed Hamilton. He followed it up with a pointed tweet that said that he would continue trying his best for McLaren for the rest of the season.
But the problem was that Button had never followed Hamilton's account in the first place, so had not slighted his colleague. Hamilton was obviously made aware of this and later tweeted: "My bad, just found out Jenson never followed me," he wrote. "Don't blame him! Need to be on Twitter more!"
It is not the first time Hamilton has created discord in the McLaren camp through Twitter. Earlier in the season he posted confidential telemetry information from qualifying on his account and has also tweeted pictures of the steering wheel and exhaust system on his car.
Twitter has "proved a graveyard for Hamilton’s many insights and revelations" says The Times. "On the face of it, Hamilton’s tweets are no more than a superficial mistake. But this is another awkward conversation on social media made worse by the fact that Hamilton copied Button in on his first remark but not the climbdown. Button has maintained a dignified silence but it is well known in the paddock that he now has little to do with his team-mate after a stressful 18 months together."
Daily Mail blogger Phil Duncan suggested Button was not in the clear. "Why Button doesn't follow Hamilton remains a story for another day," he writes. "Indeed, it's worth noting that he wasted no time adding McLaren new boy Sergio Perez to the 93 people whose status updates he's privy to upon the announcement that the Mexican would partner him in 2013.
"But Hamilton’s jibe was needless, childish and really rather embarrassing... Surely Hamilton is better placed to enjoy the final weeks of his 14-year-association with McLaren by not starting petty arguments?"
The row may serve to illustrate why McLaren were prepared to let Hamilton leave, says Andrew Benson of the BBC. "This issue finally explodes the myth propagated since 2010 that Button and Hamilton are close friends, but it also refocuses an unfortunate truth. If there seemed to be an undertone throughout the saga over Hamilton's future that high up at McLaren they wouldn't be that bothered if he left, that's because there was. They will miss his inspirational driving but not this."