Lewis Hamilton has been warned from following in the footsteps of Michael Schumacher and treading a fine line between greatness and rule breaker.
Not for the first time in his young Formula One career, Hamilton finds himself under intense pressure and scrutiny with the title tantalisingly within reach.
However, his aggressive driving style has thrust him into a fierce spotlight that should simply be focusing on his championship scrap with Felipe Massa and outsider Robert Kubica.
The 23-year-old has this week been severely criticised for a first-corner manoeuvre in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix that forced Kimi Raikkonen off the track and landed Hamilton with a drive-through penalty.
To add to the mix, Grand Prix Drivers’ Association chairman Mark Webber will today refer Hamilton’s late-braking antics – that also drew scorn after last month’s Italian Grand Prix – to race director Charlie Whiting.
Jarno Trulli will also complain about Hamilton to Whiting for not letting him by when he was leading the race and the McLaren driver was at the back of the field as he was held up for two laps.
It all harks back to the days when Schumacher ruled the roost en route to winning seven world titles, albeit angering his rivals on occasion with some of his antics.
“You could compare it to Schumacher,” said Red Bull’s Webber.
“Lewis’ problem is he is always going to be under this spotlight, which he would not necessarily want. He just wants to win his first world title, but there is this spotlight he attracts for various other reasons, be it the politics of the sport, his skin, or whatever.”
Asked whether Hamilton had crossed the line as Schumacher did, the Australian replied: “There have been a few occasions where he has learned.
“Michael was doing this stuff when he had all this experience under his belt, whereas Lewis is still in only his second year of F1.
“But you go back to what happened at Fuji last year in terms of how he handled the safety car, it was ridiculous.”
Webber feels an accident could take place unless Hamilton tempers his style.
“When you look at the first corner in Fuji it was pretty wild. He (Hamilton) was having a crack,” assessed Webber.
“But if someone had been sitting on his right rear when he pulled out, then that was a crash. There was also no way he was going to make the first corner, and whilst it is not illegal to out-brake yourself, we want to have a bit of a chat about moving around in the braking areas.
“If any guy moves two or three metres left or right then you have contact and you have tethers (on the wheels) going off, so that is what we want a chat about.”
Hamilton, though, is adamant he will not alter his way of driving.
“It was a racing manoeuvre,” said Hamilton of the failed pass on Raikkonen. “It didn’t come off, but that’s motor racing. What can you do? I don’t plan on changing my approach, it’s not necessary.”