Arguably it was the story of the 2016 Japanese Grand Prix weekend.
Lewis Hamilton was less than thrilled with having to attend Thursday’s FIA Press Conference in Suzuka, he used Snapchat, put funny animal filters on himself and Carlos Sainz Jr., he basically called out how stale the format can be, he then left another media availability later in the weekend, and he tried to keep his thoughts posted primarily to his social media channels – where he can control the message and the content. And then plenty of think pieces were written about it.
At a site where he’s won three times in four years, and in a country where he’s won four times overall, Hamilton will be part of this Thursday’s FIA Press Conference in Austin once more – as he was last year.
Except suddenly the stakes are higher. There’s the question of how Hamilton will react here. There’s the pressure of the championship picture – Hamilton now down 33 points to Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg. And there’s the next round of stories that will come from this.
Might Hamilton go full Marshawn Lynch for the press conference, as NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton postulated?
In Hamilton’s official pre-United States Grand Prix quotes, he did hail the country he’s more or less adopted as a second home.
“First up, we’re back in the States – which is like a second home race for me these days. I love the country, the culture, the people and the track, so I can’t wait to get started,” he said.
“I’ve got some great memories from Austin, with three wins from four races and, of course, the title win last year. That was one of the highlights of my career, no doubt. It’s almost like the American fans have adopted me as their own, so I’ll try to channel all of that positive energy into this weekend.”