Hamilton in a twist over Twitter
Posted By: James Allen  |  01 Sep 2012   |  10:52 pm GMT  |  128 comments

[Updated] Lewis Hamilton didn’t have a great day on Saturday in Spa.

First he went the wrong way on aerodynamic set up, selecting the higher downforce option and ending up well behind team mate Jenson Button, then he got into a twist with his Twitter feed, using the expression “WTF” to highlight his frustration with the decision, before swiftly deleting the tweet and rephrasing it. On Sunday morning he did the same with a photo of his telemetry printout out, compared to Button’s.

“Jenson has the new rear wing on, I have the old. We voted to change, didn’t work out. I lose 0.4 tenths (of a second) just on the straight” was the body of the tweet, but later version substituted “damn” for “WTF”.

“I’d just like to rephrase some things I said..” he later tweeted by way of explanation, but not before the tweet had been read from Sydenham to Sydney and been retweeted. The genie is always out of the bottle, however fast you try to pull it back in.

Social media and the direct contact with fans is a great and powerful tool, but it can also catch you out.

Hamilton has been using increasingly colourful language in his tweets, using the term “mofo” the other day and talking about his “homies”.

Many fans think that this is a very good thing as the drivers’ Twitter feed sits outside of team control and thus has a chance to be the less corporate side of their self-expression. It is considered to be closer to the drivers’ true feelings.

McLaren are one of the most advanced teams when it comes to social media and it’s given them a fresher image as a result, but clearly their intervention today to tone down Hamilton’s tweets was considered necessary, given the blue chip sponsors attached to the team.

* Curiously on Sunday he tweeted a photo of his telemetry showing his loss of straight line speed compared to Button’s.

Its shows him losing 0.5s in both the high speed sectors 1&2 but what it does not show is that the idea with running a higher downforce wing is that you make up a second in Sector 2. So the lap times end up more or less the same.

This is what happened with Kobayashi and Raikkonen, both of whom are running similar levels to Hamilton.

But mid way through Sunday morning, Hamilton deleted that tweet as well…

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh called it an “error of judgement and confirmed that the team had asked for it to be deleted, while pointing out that he had deleted the Saturday one himself.

“The tweets over the weekend (yesterday) he took down of his own volition. No one spoke to him about it,” said Whitmarsh. “This morning he made an error of judgment and we asked him to take that one down, and he did.”

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Nobody likes a whiner, especially if they are a prima donna too! Worldclass Texting Failure (WTF) Lewis! Next time use words that don’t make you look like you failed your high school English class and stop complaining in a feeble or petulant way. Stupid is as stupid does.


Also, about the words he used. I don’t it’s actually that bad, some media sites made it seem worse than it is until I found what he actually tweeted.

So no, it’s not the ‘WTF’ that grates with McLaren, it’s the context that surrounds it. It implies a lack of self-blame and that the team and his engineers are to blame which doesn’t rub well with the sponsors. Context is important in these cases and some people are missing it.



is it not a civil offence to be leaking confidential information like this? I know it certainly would be and as a journalist yourself, I know you are very aware of the consequences of leaking confidential information (or in your case, disclosing contacts/sources).

There is no doubt that there is a breach of contract in his actions but McLaren could take it much further if they wanted to.

Is Hamilton does eventually get let go, I’m sure he wouldn’t find it hard to get another drive because his talent is undisputed. But I feel his lack of maturity, mental toughness and possibly even intelligence will stop him from reaching the heights he so easily could.


If an engineer did it he would be sacked on the spot, I’m told.


James, look at the throttle trace at the bottom. In every braking zone, they lift the throttle, and then go immediately to wide-open-throttle through the braking zone as they downshift. Clearly some serious exhaust blowing going on there…


Naturally the big issue, for McLaren at least, is that their driver has leaked sensitive technical details about their car. Any engineer worth their salt can extrapolate a lot of useful details from the telemetry. Media loves sensationalizing the colorful language issue whilst the other teams love Hamilton for this gift.


Couldn’t agree more ,stop throwing the dummy about and get on with it.


While there’s lots of attention centred on the ‘WTF’s’ and ‘down with the homies’ isn’t the real question, why the most manicured entrant to F1 failed to live up to expectations?

Hamilton entered F1 as a PR man’s wet dream making an immediate impact, he also clearly demonstrated a complete lack of judgement and courted similar controversy (including the latest disclosure on Twitter) throughout his time with McLaren. To the extent Matt Bishop was brought in to keep a lid on his ill-judged remarks and behaviour.

Not a lot has really changed with Hamilton continuing to put both feet in every time he opened his mouth.

But does his lack of control matter? Well not were he delivering on race-day, but even if he were McLaren’s sponsors would still require a wholesome ‘image’ to promote. That image carefully nurtured by Hamilton sen. evaporated years ago although McLaren have steadfastly stuck by him you have to ask for how much longer.

With Hamilton fast approaching his sell-by date and you’d have to say with little reported interest from a front running team for 2013. Wouldn’t he’d be better ingratiating himself with Whitmarsh and not pissing them off especially if he still harbours ambitions of eclipsing MS’s multiple WDC’s, maybe it’s too late and Whitmarsh has already arranged a swap for diResta


Oh, dear me, finally, a human being that freely expresses his feeling.

Well done, Lewis.


This incident proves once again that Lewis never doubts about himself. Instead he always tries to blame someone else.

This is typical behaviour of certified ***holes. Paddy Lowe is saying that Lewis agreed to changing wing! Big Bad Ron should intervene, fire Lewis and hire Kimi instead! (If he doesn’t end up in Ferrari, i.e. ;-))


…and go to ALO and appologise for being an incompetent manager and a total noob in 2007.


I cannot help but feel sorry for the guy, as he is exposing his shortcomings (regarding strength of mental state) so damn easily and publically, I mean publishing such things at Twitter!?!?!?! This is how it gets when Brittish media lifts a man up to the sky and declare him a god, without having too much substance if any, to support it. At the end the poor man believe it himself and behaves accordingly, thinking he has to show/prove each time something does not go according to plan that “it was not my fault, I am still the wonder your are promoting me to be, see prove”.

Of course, there are some other ways to see it. It could be simply his way of getting back at the team, for not yet declaring that they will start supporting him 100% from now on, even though Button is (was) some 90 points behind leader. Or, maybe he and Mclaren already know they will part ways at end of the season, and he simply does not care anymore.

Anyway, obvious question is are (the super professional) Mclaren still interested?


The team from Woking should either sack him immediately, or sit him down for a race. Releasing sensitive information like that is equivalent to treason. I’m not a fan of Ron Dennis’s team, but this sort of breach is totally unacceptable from an employee.


Just to prove Lewis’ complete and utter refusal to accept that he was soundly beaten in qualifying – the prize prune tweeted a photograph of a telemetry trace this morning before the race, giving a few lovely bits of sensitive data to anyone who chooses to look (ride height, for example). Mclaren told him to remove it.

That photograph, with the handwritten notes in red ink pointing out that he was losing “0.6 seconds, 6 TENTHS” tells me a few worrying things about Lewis’ mental state. Tweeting that was the most stupid and poorly though through thing I’ve seen any professional sportsman do.


Posting that telemetry is astonishing. I’m sure “WTF” is a pretty close approximation of what Martin Whitmarsh will have been thinking when he saw that.


Lewis should realize that he can’t use foul language like Jenson had to the press, and not be raked over the coals.



One thing I do not get – Why is not this guy doing what he is best at: being a hiphop star, a DJ or whatever instead of crashing out title leaders and contenders!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


After looking at replays…HAM probably was a victim himself. grojean…once again confusing real life racing with codemasters 2011…


Mofo? He’s clearly a U2 fan!

I know I’m the only one saying it right now, but twitter will be dead and gone in a couple of years, just like MySpace before it. Not sure why F1 is hanging on to F/T/W (facebok/twitter/wordpress) so much – I mean, once you start using social media, you’re mainly promoting Facebook and Twitter, not your own website or its wonderful features. And when Twitter is down – you’re down and out too! Not very clever; I wouldn’t want to be known only for tweets or facebook likes, it’s pathetic. BBC and Autosport are now regularly producing articles built around a small tweet, that’s lack of professionalism I think. Write a proper blog entry, playing around with words based on a couple of incoherent statements from LH, or whoever it might be, is sort of naive, dunno. Doesn’t feel right.

Drivers on twitter is a sad story, wish they kept their thoughts to themselves, it’s very 5-year old kid level stuff.


Lack of professionalism, yes.

Also lazy journalism. When you read these tweets, in the main they are disappointing – not giving any real information just disjointed spur-of-the-moment thoughts.

So Hamilton tweeted WTF ? You have to know what that means to be “shocked” or “upset” or even “horrified”.

These people are at the least disingenuous with their mock indignation.


He should have tweeted “WTF, why did i lose it at Rivage on my first quali lap and why did i break so late into turn 1 on my second?? I know…cos my brain was in L.A chillin with my homies…..mofo


Vodafone should conduct an internal survey to see how many sms messages containing ‘WTF’ pass across their network every hour. I’d be willing to bet its a fair amount more times than the words ‘please’ or ‘thankyou’



Do you think yesterday was more of a reflection that Mclaren keeping getting lost too many times this year on set up?

They got it incredibly right with one car but it was the one that isn’t challenging for the title. It seems this inconsistency with both drivers is costing them a real shot at the championship.


WTF – straight forward enough to my old ears. I’ve thought and said worse before today.

James – what about your fellow BBC commentator DC making a reference to Q2 as squeezing 17 into 10…….harder that getting three in a bed.

Now that’s tacky in my view.


He would know!


Well, as Flavio said way back in 1994 :-
“All the team owners are orientated towards the technical side rather than the entertainment side, and this is a big fault.”

So, maybe Twitter will extend the life of the ossified F1 formula by enabling a paradigm-shift away from that technological focus to a personality-driven one within its fan-base, thereby increasing the latter by an order of magnitude.



Update :-

Now that’s more like it, Lewis.

As an F1 fan I much prefer Telemetry Data to spurious WTF’s.

Keep it up – don’t let the ‘suits’ deter you!



[mod] !??!

Too close to the bone for you, James?


worrying thing for Lewis might be that while he was engaging with twitter, the other contenders for this year’s title, Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen, were all busy working on their strategy for the race ….. wtf !!


James, this comment is not necessarily a criticism. But your story, even by writing and posting it, is in it’s own way caving into political correctness and celebrity reporting. Who cares that Lewis says WTF and talks about his homies? Although I acknowledge a journalists right to write about what they want, some sense of journalistic integrity must also play a part. Maybe next time you can leave out the twitter feed stories? Maybe that one is best left to those who choose to receive Lewis’ feed, and Lewis himself? Just a thought.


Disagree completely.

I’m putting it out there with some context to see what people think. Read the comments, it’s a mixed response.

I think it’s great that drivers tweet and give their honest opinions. The language they choose to use reveals a lot about them. It’s part of modern F1 and as a site that has done a lot on that side in the last three years (I was one of first in F1 onto Twitter at start of 2009) I think it’s interesting


Wow again we have a discussion about absoltutely nothing!

Hamilton said or tweeted nothing wrong or conroversial. The media must have been very desperate at the time Lewis delivered them nothing to have a go at him

Where have they been as he was speaking about Shakespeare, Neruda & Elliott via Twitter?

Other drivers swerar in their interviews call collegues named make silly gestures, but Lewis once uses WTF, a very common phrase today, hell breaks loose

It’s a shame how far our society came , when someone can’t speak his mind and express himself in the same way we ALL do.


I didn’t know what H A M meant, looked it up. Made me laught out loud! Look if you don’t like or want your kids to read these comments then maybe you or your kids shouldn’t read or follow adult comments. Enought said

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