Lewis Hamilton has suffered a backlash from fans after accusing team-mate Nico Rosberg of cheating in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix and ignoring the German post-race after he had won the event from pole position.
The feud began in earnest on Saturday when Rosberg locked up and ran wide at Mirabeau on his second ‘hot’ qualifying lap, impeding Hamilton who was running behind. Despite being slower across the weekend than his rival, Hamilton believed he would have been on pole without the yellow flag interruption.
But now many fans are switching off from the 2008 World Champion after he continued his blanking of Rosberg during Sunday’s podium ceremony.
On social media platforms and dedicated F1 forums, erstwhile fans have declared their allegiance disolved. One user of a popular boradcaster’s website wrote:
‘Lewis Hamilton; Totally inspirational driver, disappointingly petulant character.’
While another typed:
‘Once again Hamilton shows why he is such an unpopular person in F1. Just like at McLaren, he has to blame everyone else for issues that go wrong.’
Others were less veiled in their opinions and openly accused Hamilton of being ‘a spoilt brat’ or ‘a sore loser’.
However, some have sprung to the defence of the Briton insisting his behaviour is normal:
‘I don’t see what the problem is with Hamilton not hiding how he feels?’ said one forum member.
‘How can you expect him to be all smiles and hug Rosberg when Rosberg very suspiciously ruined his pole lap, now no one will ever know if it was on purpose or not but pole is everything at Monaco!’
Mercedes advisor Niki Lauda revealed on Sunday that Hamilton had been made to apologise after using a disallowed fuel setting to win the Spanish Grand Prix, beating Rosberg who – while unhappy to lose to his friend – congratulated him during the podium formalities. Hamilton’s inability to return the favour on Sunday in Monaco sparked comparisons to Senna and Prost, though Rosberg himself does not believe their relationship as friends has changed significantly.
Hamilton continued his war of words on Monday, saying there would be ‘no more hugs’ for Rosberg if the German continued to beat him.