Jacques Villeneuve says Lewis Hamilton portrays himself like Jesus Christ and treats "Formula 1 like Hollywood" in an astonishing summary of the Briton's German Grand Prix win. Hamilton won from 14th on the grid in a wet race that saw title rival Sebastian Vettel crash out of the lead to prompt a change at the top of the drivers' championship.
After suffering hydraulic failure in qualifying, Hamilton kneeled beside his car before making his way back to the pits, while there was similarly biblical imagery when an almighty storm broke out as Hamilton celebrated an unlikely race win just a day later.
Hamilton makes no secret of his Christian faith and it has struck a chord with the 1997 world champion, never shy of voicing his opinion.
"He confuses Formula 1 with Hollywood. Everything he does is staged," Villeneuve told Auto Bild.
"He portrays himself on social media like he is Jesus.
"The way he knelt next to his car after his problem in qualifying looked like the suffering of Christ. And what he said afterwards was the Sermon on the Mount.
"Then he gestured so dramatically on the podium that everyone could see who sent the sudden rain."
Hamilton took to social media extensively across the race weekend in Hockenheim, explaining his ruinous qualifying in a lengthy post before criticising Sky Sports' punditry team in a post that was swiftly deleted, but shared widely.
Team principal Toto Wolff has no issue with Hamilton reaching out to his fans so much, and has endorsed the honesty that he is able to show.
"I had a conversation with him about it [social media] on Sunday night and I think it is great that someone wears his heart on his sleeve," Wolff said.
"He says things likes he means them. We are humans and have emotions and are influenced by what others say and what they say and you take things personally."
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