Hamilton blocking out the 'haters' to regain focus
The "haters", as Lewis Hamilton's Twitter feed describes them, have been circling in recent days. As the sizeable role he played in the disastrous Monaco Grand Prix pit stop has slowly dripped out, Hamilton's tactical acumen and the very leadership of his Mercedes team have come under the microscope.
Hamilton - or as it later emerged, someone working on behalf of the reigning champion - employed a typically bizarre means of response to the criticism.
It was a picture of a goat wearing sunglasses, with the accompanying message: "Current mood. Wearing my #HaterBlockers & #BlockingOutTheHaters".
Confusingly, the 30-year-old said the message had actually been posted by a "friend", likely to be Daniel "Spinz" Forrest, a Canadian music producer who has become part of Hamilton's entourage this year.
"I didn't post that. I don't always post my stuff," Hamilton said last night. "I've been working today so haven't been posting any of my stuff. It's just a joke that people do on social media."
Whatever the truth of it, Hamilton and Mercedes must feel like winning is an unforgiving business at the moment. First and third in the greatest race of them all is hardly a bad result for the team, but given the circumstances in which they threw away a certain win for the Englishman, it prompted a legitimate post-mortem.
It turns out the error was prompted by something familiar to anyone who uses a computer: the screen froze.
The live timing measuring the gap between their drivers, which updates every couple of seconds, became stuck at 10.5 seconds, misleading chief strategist James Vowles and the rest of the pit wall as to the true gap.
Hamilton, meanwhile, has done his best to push the whole Monaco saga to the recesses of his mind. Although he somewhat claimed he "couldn't care less about it", the two-time champion has handled the setback in a manner which would have been unimaginable a few years ago.
"I definitely feel I react differently now to how I did last year, the year before that, and 10 years ago," Hamilton said. "You're supposed to be growing, improving, and learning every year. And if you're not, what's the point of living? I guess it's just being a grown up."
Hamilton has been driving like a world champion of late.
A lights-to-flag victory, unencumbered by strategic blunders, will silence Hamilton and Mercedes 'haters' better than any tweet. (© Daily Telegraph, London)