Formula One star Hamilton snaps pic, takes all questions
Haas driver Romain Grosjean, of France, takes a photo of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, during a news conference for the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at the Circuit of the Americas, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) As promised, Lewis Hamilton had his phone ready for a picture. Only this time, he handed it off to Romain Grosjean to do the honors.
Two weeks after criticism of his behavior during the drivers' news conference in Japan sparked a feud with some media, the Mercedes driver welcomed all questions at the U.S. Grand Prix with an eye toward poking fun at his critics.
Drivers are rarely asked to attend the Thursday news conference in consecutive weeks. Hamilton served notice as soon he arrived that he would own the next 40 minutes when he placed his phone on the desk in front of him .
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Hamilton had drawn sharp criticism in Japan for taking pictures and playing with Snapchat filters during the news conference. This time, he turned around to Grosjean in the back row, handed him his phone and had the Haas F1 driver take a picture of Hamilton and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel with the packed room of reporters and photographers behind them.
Hamilton noted he waited until the initial round of questions reached every other driver, so as not to disrespect anyone else.
''It's a good picture. You're all in it,'' Hamilton said.
Grosjean laughed about playing Hamilton's photographer.
''I took a picture with a brand I'm not allowed to touch because I'm a Microsoft ambassador. I may get in trouble for that,'' Grosjean said
Hamilton took the bulk of the questions during the news conference which ranged from his chances of catching teammate Nico Rosberg for the season championship – he trails by 33 points with four races left – to blocking some reporters from his social media accounts.
Hamilton, who is very active on several social media platforms said, ''I don't actually manage every part of my social media.''
''I have a couple of other people that do. My general approach is, if you see something, if you see someone generally talking smack, then you kind of cut it,'' Hamilton said. ''I don't really know who has been blocked … I think it's a lot of people. It wasn't just media … It was a blocking spree.''