‘Arrogant’ Lewis buying own hype – Irvine

Thu, 9 August 2007, 01:40

Lewis Hamilton’s true arrogance is now beginning to emerge from a “cleaner-than-clean” media image, according to former Ferrari and Jaguar racer Eddie Irvine.

The Ulsterman and winner of 4 grands prix, who retired from the sport in 2002 after failing to secure a seat at the Jordan team, accused McLaren rookie Hamilton of harvesting an untrue reputation through the press.

“Lewis is playing a particularly polished and clever game when it comes to appearing cleaner-than-clean but his arrogance is starting to come out now,” Irvine, now 41, wrote in his column for Virgin Media.

He described as “unbelievable” the disrespect shown by Hamilton to his mentor and team boss Ron Dennis in his foul-mouthed attack on the radio during Hungarian grand prix qualifying.

During the same session in Budapest, 22-year-old championship leader Hamilton also repeatedly ignored a team order which is understood to have triggered Fernando Alonso’s pit stop delay tactics.

Irvine said: “Success is starting to go to his head. The way he behaved in Hungary is beyond belief.”

Irvine’s own maverick image in formula one was hardly angelic, but he says he has “no respect for people who disrespect their team managers and Lewis is rapidly beginning to lose mine”.

Irvine also saved some disapproval for reigning world champion Alonso, comparing the qualifying incident for which he was penalised by stewards to Michael Schumacher’s widely-condemned move on Jacques Villeneuve at Jerez in 1997.

He said: “I can’t condone cheating, but if you must do it, there’s got to be a subtler way!”

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