MANAMA (Reuters) - McLaren questioned Lewis Hamilton’s version of events on Friday after the 2008 Formula One champion told an interviewer he had been thrown out of his old team’s garages in pre-season testing.
Asked how much contact he still had with McLaren, Hamilton told the official formula1.com website he went to see his former team mates at the Australian season-opener in Melbourne last month.
“I also tried to see them in Jerez, at the test, and (sporting director) Sam Michael threw me out of the garage. That wasn’t very positive and I don’t feel very good about that,” the Mercedes driver said at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
“(Team boss) Martin (Whitmarsh) has been great and I have to say I haven’t had enough contact so I will give Martin a call.”
McLaren PR director Matt Bishop responded by saying: “Sam didn’t throw Lewis out of our garage.
“Rather, he gently guided him out since our car was being worked on by our mechanics at the time, with a number of its dismantled components clearly visible, which no-one from a rival team should see.
“Lewis knew he shouldn’t have been in our garage in the first place, just as all team personnel know they shouldn’t enter rival teams’ garages.”
Bishop pointed out Hamilton had also spent time in their paddock hospitality “at a number of grands prix” so far this season and had always been “warmly welcomed”.
Hamilton moved to Mercedes at the end of last season, breaking a connection with McLaren that went back to his teenage days in go-karts.
At the Malaysian Grand Prix last month he caused amusement among Formula One fans by pulling in at McLaren instead of Mercedes at a pitstop.
Editing by Tony Jimenez