Hamilton tried to belittle Leclerc after Bahrain, claims Villeneuve
Jacques Villeneuve has taken a unique stance on Lewis Hamilton's praise of Charles Leclerc following his victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix, claiming that the world champion's words were 'not genuine' and instead were used to 'belittle' the young driver.
Leclerc enjoyed almost a perfect weekend in Bahrain, finishing on pole in qualifying and leading the race with ease until a power problem with 10 laps remaining meant he limped to a third-place finish, as Hamilton took the chequered flag.
Speaking to Sky's Martin Brundle post-race, Hamilton heaped praise upon Leclerc, stating that his own win was fortunate and that we could 'expect many more wins' from the 21-year-old in the future.
But in his stint as analyst for Sky Italia, Villeneuve claimed that Hamilton's words had an ulterior motive and he was positioning himself for a psychological battle with the man who could be his closest contender for the title this season.
He said: "It's nice that people are so positive about Hamilton when he spoke so nicely to Leclerc. However, what people forget it that drivers are very aware of the cameras and that their words will travel across the world. I don't think Hamilton's words for Leclerc were genuine.
"If you listen closely to what Hamilton is saying, he's actually trying to say he's much better than Leclerc and the rest of the field. The words were belittling towards Leclerc, which is how Hamilton wanted to show to him that he's above him."
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.