1997 Formula One world champion Jacques Villeneuve thinks Lewis Hamilton behaved like “a spoilt child” after winning his third title in Austin last October.
The Mercedes driver dominated the proceedings to seal the 2015 crown with three races to spare, but suffered a dip in form thereafter. Meanwhile, team-mate Nico Rosberg enjoyed a very strong run to cap his campaign with six consecutive pole positions and three grand prix victories on the trot.
Speaking to German publication Motorsport-Magazin.com, Villeneuve says he has been quite unimpressed with how Hamilton reacted to his late-season slump.
“After [Rosberg] lost the championship, it looks like something changed in him. I don’t know for sure but he became a killer. Lewis, however, reacted pretty badly and showed a very negative side of his character.
“He showed that he cannot be humble. He has secured three world championships but could not rejoice and behaved like a spoilt child whose toys had been taken away from him.
“He has not acted like a great champion since [winning the title].”
Hamilton has repeatedly alluded to post-Singapore setup changes on the W06 to explain his struggles over the final stretch of the season.
Toto Wolff declared that the world champions would analyse the data to get to the bottom of the issue, though the Mercedes motorsport boss also hinted that the Briton might have unconsciously taking it easier.
Villeneuve, who remains involved in F1 as a TV pundit for French broadcaster Canal+, warns Hamilton that his complaints can become a double-edged sword.
“He is the one who sits in the car. He is the one who works with his engineer. It is up to him. Whatever kind of a setup they have, it seems to suit Nico better, but maybe that’s because Nico has worked.
“If that is the case, then perhaps Lewis was not as superior as he appeared to be this year. He just had a better setup. That's why he should be careful when he says things like that.”
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