In the hours after qualifying at Spa, the paddock quickly and half-heartedly dubbed the affair ‘Twittergate’.
Disappointed with his eighth in qualifying compared to McLaren teammate Jenson Button’s pole, Lewis Hamilton got onto Twitter and used the internet acronym “WTF” to describe his feelings.
“Damn,” he added. “Jenson has the new rear wing on, I have the old. I lose 4 tenths just on the straight. Jenson should win easy with that speed.”
McLaren officials then reportedly deleted the ‘tweets’ from Hamilton’s personal account, possibly without the 2008 world champion’s knowledge. Asked why the ‘tweets’ had disappeared, Hamilton told reporters in Belgium: “Did they? No particular reason. Just wanted to rephrase some things I said.”
Then, in McLaren’s official end-of-day press release, Hamilton was quoted as saying it was a “collective” decision on his side of the garage to opt for the older wing.
Happier with Saturday’s outcome was championship leader Fernando Alonso, despite the fact he qualified just sixth in his Ferrari.
But, crucially, he is ahead of title challengers Hamilton and the Red Bulls, meaning he won’t be upset if Jenson Button wins.
“If this (qualifying) result could be repeated tomorrow, honestly I’d sign for it now,” Spaniard Alonso said.
He is, however, worried about getting involved in the start chaos.
“It is very easy to get caught out by those behind you,” Alonso is quoted by Spanish reporters. “I’ll have to be careful.”