On his trip 'down under', Lewis Hamilton found himself in hot water even before setting foot on Australian soil. A Mercedes spokesman confirmed that the world champion has been in New Zealand this week for personal reasons rather than any official duties.
Indeed, he was at Sky City casino in Auckland when he tweeted that staff treated him "like dirt". He then went on 'Snapchat' to giggle at the amount of Chinese people on a domestic flight, before hiring a Harley Davidson and taking a video 'selfie' with his mobile phone whilst riding.
It is the 'selfie' that attracted the attention of local police, with reports in New Zealand quoting a spokesman as confirming authorities were "reviewing the footage". "If there is clear evidence that a mobile phone has been used to record this footage ... then this would be deemed as an offence," the police said.
Reportedly, they concluded that the evidence was insufficient. Briton Hamilton, however, seems unperturbed about the negative attention his New Zealand escapade has been attracting in the days before the 2016 season opener.
"Want to hear something funny?" he told his Snapchat fans. "Every time I post something on here and people get upset, they contact Mercedes. But do I look like I'm bothered? I'm having a great time." (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing