Heat on Lewis Hamilton in Japan after Red Bull ambush

Heat on Lewis Hamilton in Japan after Red Bull ambush

TOKYO - Agence France-Presse
Heat on Lewis Hamilton in Japan after Red Bull ambush

Lewis Hamilton is looking to hit back from his defeat in Malaysia at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, scene of a bizarre ‘Snapchat’ row that overshadowed last year’s race.

Britain’s triple world champion was forced to play second fiddle to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in Sepang after securing his ninth pole of the season and 70th of his career. espite stretching his Formula One world championship lead over Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel to 34 points with five races left, Hamilton took a swipe at his Mercedes team.

“There are some real big problems that I can’t really explain to you,” he said. “There is stuff that has been happening through the weekend that is not acceptable for this great team.” Hamilton came into last year’s Suzuka race in a foul mood and seeking solace after raising the possibility of a Mercedes conspiracy against him following an engine fire in Malaysia.

But the Briton triggered further controversy when he was criticized for posting photos on social media during a press conference. urious with tabloids for labelling him “snap prat” and the “berc in the Merc”, Hamilton sulkily refused to answer questions after qualifying in Suzuka as the row rumbled on.

Hamilton will be hoping for a better performance from his car this week than in Malaysia.

“Every point counts,” said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.

“We got lucky again [in Malaysia] and we expect a very close fight between ourselves, Ferrari and Red Bull at Suzuka.” Hamilton, who has 281 points to Vettel’s 247, had warned Ferrari would push Mercedes hard in Malaysia. But they dodged a bullet as Vettel finished fourth after starting from the back of the grid, while Kimi Raikkonen suffered a failure.