Haas' Romain Grosjean triggered an argument at last the drivers' meeting in Suzuka this weekend, when he questioned Lewis Hamilton's post-race behaviour.
The traditional Friday meeting, chaired by Charlie Whiting, kicked off with the FIA race director telling Sebastian Vettel that after his run-in with Lance Stroll on the slow-down lap in Malaysia, he should have made his way back to the pits in the medical car rather than on the sidepod of Pascal Wehrlein's Sauber.
Lewis Hamilton then pointed out the fact that after his crash, Vettel had failed to put the steering wheel back on his Ferrari - as the rules dictate, but had taken it away with him instead.
Whiting explained that the infraction was not brought to the attention of the stewards because the steering wheel was not required by the marshals to move the car.
Romain Grosjean then asked if drivers were allowed to undo their seatbelts on the slow-down lap after the checkered flag.
When Whiting reminded everybody that this was not permitted, Grosjean pointed to Hamilton and said: "Well I think Lewis has been doing it quite a lot."
The remark opened a bit of a can of worms among the drivers...
Whiting: “Loosening them is reasonable, rather than taking them off completely.”
Grosjean: “I’m just asking, I think it’s great for the fans, but I wanted to mention it.”
Whiting: “At the speeds Lewis was driving at, I think that’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Loosen them, not undo them.”
Felipe Massa added a bit of color: “But you cannot loosen them. It’s very difficult, you need to take it off.”
Whiting: “I was asked a question and I said, no, you should not undo them, but if you can loosen them off, I don’t see a big issue with that. Lewis, what do you do, do you loosen them or undo them?”
Hamilton, [with an awkward smile]: “Undo them. I don’t do it very often, Montreal I did, a few other races.”
Whiting: “You might have started something here Romain…”
Grosjean: “I think it’s great for the fans to see a bit more of the driver. But I just wanted to get a clarification.”
Hamilton: “Why would you need clarification on it?”
Grosjean: “Because sometimes you don’t put the steering wheel back on and you can get a fine, and it doesn’t make sense if the wheels are completely off of the car. So I just wanted to know.”
Hamilton [shrugs]: “Interesting...”
Whiting: “We can clarify it if you really think it’s worth it…”
Hamilton [mischievously]: “We’re driving so slowly, man. But, I mean, maybe Sebastian should keep his on.” [laughs...]
Vettel [smiling]: “Steering wheel or belts? I’m confused now.”
Whiting: “That is something we’ve seen happen, isn’t it [referring to Vettel’s Sepang crash]? Needn’t have but it did and something similar could happen.”
Grosjean: “I don’t want to start an argument or whatever, I just want to know the rules, simple as that.”
Whiting: “Well I don’t think you should undo your belts. I think we’ve see what can happen on a slowing-down lap, so I think it’s a very bad practice to undo your belts.”
Hamilton: “I’ve only done it when I win to wave to fans.”
Whiting: “I understand, yes.”
Hamilton: “But I do slow down massively.”