Lewis Hamilton walks out of press conference after refusing to take questions

Lewis Hamilton walked out of his written media press conference without answering any questions after qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Hamilton courted criticism on Thursday after he fooled around by uploading videos to his Snapchat account during the official drivers' press conference.

The Briton will start behind his title rival Nico Rosberg - whom he trails by 23 points - in Sunday's race after he missed out on pole position here in Suzuka by just 13 thousandths of a second on Saturday.

(Lewis Hamilton/Snapchat)
Hamilton's snaps from Thursday (Lewis Hamilton/Snapchat)

A smiling Hamilton arrived for his usual post-qualifying press conference inside the Mercedes' motorhome.

Repeatedly knocking the table with his hand, Hamilton turned to Bradley Lord, the team's head of communication, who appeared completely unaware of what the Briton was about to say, and said: "You won't be smiling in a minute."

Hamilton laughed briefly, and then stood in silence for around 20 seconds before explaining why he would not be taking any questions from the floor. He also hinted that he may not speak to the written press again in the future.

Hamilton with other racing drivers (Toru Takahashi/AP)
Hamilton will start in second place tomorrow, behind his team mate Nico Rosberg (Toru Takahashi/AP)

"The smiles on your faces will probably be no longer," Hamilton began. "I am not actually here to answer your questions, I have decided.

"With the utmost respect, there are many of you here that are super-supportive of me, and those of you hopefully know I know who they are. There are others, unfortunately, that often take advantage of certain things.

"The other day was a super light-hearted thing, and if I was disrespectful to any of you guys, or if you felt that I was disrespectful, it was honestly not the intention, it was just a little bit of fun.

Hamilton plays on his phone(Eugene Hoshiko/AP)
Hamilton plays with his phone in Thursday's conference (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

"But what was more disrespectful was what was then written worldwide. Unfortunately, there are some people here, that it is not them that have done it, and unfortunately the decision I will take unfortunately affects those who have been super-supportive. That's what I am saying with the utmost respect.

"I don't really plan on sitting here many more times for these kind of things, so my apologies and I hope you guys enjoy the rest of your weekend."

After delivering the monologue, which lasted for 85 seconds, Hamilton then got up and left.

A Mercedes spokesperson refused to comment on the incident, and did not say whether Hamilton would be disciplined for his actions.

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