A difficult Japanese Grand Prix weekend for McLaren has ended in embarrassing fashion with Lewis Hamilton wrongly criticising teammate Jenson Button on Twitter.
Button and Hamilton could only finish fourth and fifth at Suzuka as McLaren struggled for pace relative to the stunning performance of the Red Bulls.
Sebastian Vettel cruised to the win to narrow Fernando Alonso’s championship lead to four points.
Hamilton did at least trim 10 points off his own deficit to Alonso after the Ferrari driver failed to finish, but it was a challenging weekend all round for the Woking-based team.
The race was the first since Hamilton’s move to Mercedes was confirmed and that, understandably, was the major topic of paddock discussion, even allowing for Michael Schumacher’s retirement announcement.
The Briton took Button to task on Twitter, having been led to believe his teammate had stopped following him on the social media site.
In a series of tweets on his official feed, which has around 1.1million followers, Hamilton said: “Just noticed @jensonbutton unfollowed, thats a shame. After 3 years as teammates, I thought we respected one another but clearly he doesn’t.
“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!!!”
But the 27-year-old was left red-faced when he realised Button did not follow his Twitter account in the first place.
That led him to tweet: “My bad, just found out Jenson never followed me. Don’t blame him! Need to be on Twitter more!’’
Hamilton’s Twitter climbdown is not the first time he has mis-stepped on the social networking site.
At the Belgian Grand Prix he posted a picture of the telemetry from his and Button’s qualifying laps, which the team quickly told him to remove due to the sensitive nature of the data. On that occasion Button said he was “disappointed”.