LONDON: Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has called for Lewis Hamilton to be given better recognition for his achievement in becoming the youngest ever world champion.
Hamilton won the drivers championship by a single point from Brazilian Felipe Massa following a dramatic Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos last Sunday but the Briton is seen in some quarters as arrogant, something Ecclestone feels is unwarranted.
"Hamilton is a young man doing his best and I get upset with people who say he is an arrogant bastard and all this nonsense. Lewis has achieved an awful lot," Ecclestone said.
Ecclestone opined that "there are so many people out there that want him to lose, so he has to make sure he delivers."
"I think he comes over as a bit over-confident but don't forget they said the same about (former champion) Michael (Schumacher)," he added.
"He has to be careful what he says and how he presents himself," warned Ecclestone, who said that if Hamilton handles himself well then "things will open up commercially" meaning that he could ultimately become as feted in his sport as Tiger Woods is in golf.
"There could be a Tiger Woods effect," Ecclestone acknowledged.
Hamilton has meanwhile praised the role of his father Anthony in helping him become world champion.
Anthony Hamilton introduced his son to karting aged eight and played a variety as Lewis' passion for motorsport developed once his father had sown the initial seed.
"He's been an inspiration," said Hamilton.
Jokingly, Hamilton added that "he's a dad, a pain" on occasion.
"But he has done all the work to get me where I am, made all the sacrifices from the beginning, and even now he is still doing that."
British lawmakers on Tuesday praised Hamilton's achievement - although one, Liberal Democrat Bob Russell, MP for the southern town of Colchester, criticised his tax exile status.
Hamilton last year decided to move to Switzerland, a move which Accountancy Age magazine has estimated could save him an estimated $6 million a year.
A House of Commons motion tabled by Labour MP for Leicester, Keith Vaz, congratulated Hamilton and lauded him as "an excellent role model and inspiration for all young people to aspire to".
Russell, however, tabled his own motion to add the words: "but regrets that his patriotism to the country which nurtured him, and made his success possible, is to live abroad as a tax exile."
6 months ago