26 March 2016
F1 Bahrain GP: Hamilton defends Snapchat use
Lewis Hamilton has no regrets about his social media profile, or any intention of backing off, despite criticism from within the F1 paddock and beyond...
Lewis Hamilton's love of social media is well documented, both good and bad, but the three-time world champion insists that he isn't about to stop communicating with his fans.
The Mercedes driver ran into trouble while on holiday prior to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, attracting the attention of New Zealand police for apparently taking images of himself while riding a Harley-Davidson on the motorway. Despite the law banning the use of handheld devices while in charge of a vehicle having been in place for the past seven years, Hamilton was let off when investigations decided the footage was 'inconclusive', but the incident emphasised how close to the line the 31-year old appears prepared to go to give mere mortals an insight into his jet-set lifestyle.
The New Zealand moment was just one of a series of off the wall social media moments leading up to the season-opener in Melbourne, with Hamilton also commenting on the ethnicity of fellow passengers while 'flying commercial' and ranting at the poor customer service he received at an Auckland casino, but he insists that he is unlikely to back down - even if his use of Snapchat, which began in Sochi last year, continues to rile the powers that be in the F1 paddock.
"I like social media and I've got a great following," he explained, having joked that the best thing about his latest craze was 'all the girls sending me pictures', "I've got some incredible fans that follow me from all over the world and come to the races, but what they don't get to see from a picture you take with video, you can now show the stuff you're doing instantly.
"If I took a video now, then edited it and wrote a comment and hashtags and all that rubbish, then put it on Instagram, I'd have to do that later on. [With] this thing, you can just do it real, real quick and it gives you more of an insight of what's going on in my day because we are all over the place.
"Unfortunately, F1 has blocked us from being able to film in the paddock... The amount of complaints I've had from all my snaps, it's been on and on and on, [and] now you are not allowed to [film]. But you are allowed to take stills, so I don't know what the real difference is..."
Asked during a pre-Melbourne press conference about the motorway footage, and whether it set a good example from an FIA road safety ambassador, Hamilton claimed to 'not really have much of an answer', echoing an earlier post that underlined his carefree attitude to documenting his every move.
"You wanna hear something funny...?" he asked, "Every time I post something, people upset about it contact Mercedes. But do I look like I'm bothered...ah-uh... I'm having a great time. Hope you are too."
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