Lewis Hamilton has continued his feud with the media after walking out of his post-qualifying press conference at the Japanese Grand Prix. The Briton will start the race second behind team-mate and drivers' championship leader Nico Rosberg - but after securing his place on the grid his attention quickly turned to renewing his tempestuous relationship with assembled journalists.
The three-time world champion was heavily criticised after using social media platform Snapchat during his pre-race weekend press briefing with the world's media on Thursday [6 October]. Hamilton labelled the incident "the highlight of my day" and expressed his disappointment over the subsequent disparaging remarks he received.
After Hamilton appeared at an official FIA press conference and spoke to broadcast media, he attended a media briefing organised by the Mercedes team to further discuss his performance at Suzuka. However, Hamilton refused to take questions and slammed the "disrespectful" reaction to his antics earlier in the week.
"The smiles on your faces will probably be no longer," Hamilton said. "I am not actually here to answer your questions I have decided.
"With the utmost respect there are many of you here that are super-supportive of me, and those of you hopefully know I know who they are. There are others, unfortunately that often take advantage of certain things. The other day was a super light-hearted thing, and if I was disrespectful to any of you guys, or if you felt that 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. Unfortunately, there are some people here, that it is not them that have done it, and unfortunately the decision I will take unfortunately affects those who have been super supportive. That's what I am saying with the utmost respect. I don't really plan on sitting here many more times for these kind of things, so my apologies and I hope you guys enjoy the rest of your weekend."
The 31-year-old trails Rosberg by 23 points in the championship, after being forced to withdraw from the Malaysian Grand Prix with engine trouble. Hamilton suggested sabotage could have played a role in his abandonment of the race, which throws into serious doubt his pursuit of a fourth world title.