Reuters | Oct 19, 2016
Triple Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has been called upon by his Mercedes team to appear at Thursday’s official press conference for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, two weeks after refusing to take questions from the media in Japan.
Hamilton triggered a media spat at the Japanese Grand Prix when he was criticised for playing on his phone during a news conference, using the Snapchat app, taking pictures of fellow drivers and complaining of the boring format of the event.
He then walked out of a media briefing after hitting out at “disrespectful” criticism of his behaviour by journalists, telling several he was “not here to answer your questions”.
The 31-year-old was upset after journalists took to social media to criticise his use of Snapchat and has since blocked several Formula One journalists on Twitter.
However, Mercedes have included the reigning champion in the media schedule, released by the team, for Thursday’s FIA event in Austin, Texas.
He is also scheduled to take part in separate post-qualifying and post-race media briefings.
Hamilton, who finished third in Suzuka, is 33 points behind team mate Nico Rosberg in the world championship with four races remaining, meaning that even if he wins every one, Rosberg could still deny him a fourth title by finishing second in each race.