London, Oct.15 : Formula One legend Sir Jackie Stewart has branded current favourite Lewis Hamilton as 'arrogant' and warned him that he will lose the drivers' crown if he repeats last weekend's first corner cock-up in Japan.
McLaren star Hamilton saw his world championship lead over Ferrari's Felipe Massa cut to five points with two races left, after he was hit with a drive-through penalty for forcing Kimi Raikkonen off the track.
Stewart has been one of Hamilton's biggest supporters, claiming the 23-year-old could become one of the sport's all-time greats.
But after seeing his display at Fuji, he said: "It was not his finest hour.
"Lewis' approach in that first corner was slightly arrogant towards other drivers. He braked far too late, ran deep into the run-off area and then almost collided with Raikkonen. Lewis didn't make it happen for himself but he made it happen for everybody else by taking himself out of contention," The Sun quoted Stewart, as saying. "There's an old adage 'You can't win the race in the first corner but you can lose it'. That's exactly what occurred. Weaving in and out of other cars, as Lewis did in the run to the first corner, puts other drivers in the position of having to avoid his manoeuvre. It exposes Lewis to risk from their actions," he added.
"Lewis can still win the championship - but not if he drives the last two races the way he drove in Japan," Stewart said.