Lewis Hamilton was “spoiled by success” in Formula 1, according to rival Nico Hulkenberg.
Seven-time world champion Hamilton was publicly chided on the radio by his Mercedes boss Toto Wolff during the recent Austrian GP.
“Lewis, we know the car is bad,” Wolff told the 38-year-old. “Please drive it.”
When asked about the incident, Haas driver Hulkenberg told Servus TV: “You’d have to say Lewis was a little spoiled by success.
“He’s a guy who’s quick to complain these days.”
Indeed, Hulkenberg – three years younger than Hamilton at 35 – is a long-serving driver whose talent did not lead to F1 success.
In fact, he has the record for the most number of career grands prix without even a podium.
The German even sat out three seasons recently after failing to secure race seats, but is back in top form with the small American team Haas in 2023.
In the meantime, Hulkenberg started a family.
“After 2019, I was a little cooked through,” he said. “After that I was always half in the paddock but still, it was good to take a break.
“Now I’m in a good mood and having fun. If you are well positioned in that respect, then you can have this lightness. I’m at peace with myself.
“The driving is the easy part. It’s like riding a bike – you don’t forget it. But I want to have fun with it too.
“We have to keep this vibe and this lightness,” Hulkenberg insisted.
He is also getting along notably well with his team boss Gunther Steiner – after the relationship between the Haas principal and Mick Schumacher soured so badly last year.
“The Gunther you see on TV or on Netflix is exactly how he is,” Hulkenberg smiled. “He is direct and honest. We have a good cooperation.
“It’s also good because for the first time I can communicate in my mother tongue. I’m having fun and I think he’s having fun with me too. We’re still in the honeymoon phase a bit.”