Sir Jackie Stewart says Lewis Hamilton should apologise for motorbike incident

18 Mar 2016 06:23

Lewis Hamilton should have apologised for using his mobile phone whilst riding a motorbike, Britain's three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart has said.

Hamilton, 31, was investigated by police in New Zealand after he posted two videos when riding a Harley-Davidson earlier this week.

The police took no further action, citing a lack of "sufficient evidence'', and Hamilton refused to entertain the incident when quizzed about it ahead of Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

It has been illegal to use a mobile phone while driving a vehicle in New Zealand since 2009, and Stewart, 76, believes Hamilton, with his status as a three-time world champion, must set a better precedent.

"Unfortunately, I think you do have to apologise," Stewart told Press Association Sport. "There is a law in the United Kingdom that if you are found driving and using your mobile phone you lose your licence.

"Lewis Hamilton can drive better with one hand than most of the population - but there is an element of safety. There is also an element of statement - 'if the world champion is doing it then I can do it'.

"In some respects you have to live by example. That sounds boring and for Lewis' lifestyle that is boring because he has his own way of doing things, but in certain things you have got to comply."

Hamilton's preparations for the new season have been mired in controversy. The Briton took aim at a casino in New Zealand after he said they treated him like ''dirt'', while he has also posted an array of bizarre videos to his Snapchat account.

In one, while on a flight from Auckland to Queenstown, he filmed the passengers around him, and said: "We don't know where we are going. We might be going to China, because there are a lot of Chinese people on this flight."

"It is a very intoxicating lifestyle to be a world champion racing driver," Stewart, who is attending the opening race of the season here in Melbourne, added.

"You get paid hideous amounts of money, you can buy anything you want, you get doors open to you everywhere you go and it is intoxicating.

"Lewis still hasn't got over that. I think he will get over it, but I guess it is called maturity. Right at the moment I am sure he is having a good life and I am sure he is thoroughly enjoying himself, but for the long haul you don't do that."

Hamilton will begin the defence of his third title in Albert Park on Sunday, with Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg likely to be his closest challenger.

Hamilton and Rosberg's relationship has significantly deteriorated following two seasons in which they have gone toe-to-toe for the championship.

Stewart, an ambassador for Rolex, added: "Lewis is a more aggressive driver, in his lifestyle, and everything else. He is the complete opposite to Nico.

"Rosberg is more dignified, quieter. Lewis is bright-eyed bushy-tailed, the new generation and they are two different cultures. Therefore I don't think they get on as well together as they should as being two team-mates.

"They are both at the same stage in their career and their is animosity which is unfortunate. I think Mercedes have to take the blame for some of that."

:: Sir Jackie Stewart was speaking as an ambassador for Rolex at the Australian Grand Prix.