Lewis Hamilton 'lost the plot' and went 'too showbiz' following his initial success in F1, former Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine has said.

Hamilton is highly regarded by those within the sport and he is often put in the same bracket as the likes of Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen - all world champions and all viewed as the cream of the crop.

However after a storming debut season in 2007, in which Hamilton missed out on the title by just a single point, and after winning the crown in 2008, the Briton hasn't done better than fourth or fifth in the Drivers' Championship in subsequent years and Irvine reckons the Briton lost his way, although he thinks he is now 'coming back'. Indeed Irvine believes Hamilton and Fernando Alonso are the only ones that can end Sebastian Vettel's run of dominance in 2014.

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"I think Lewis lost the plot a little bit because he went too showbiz. His entry into F1 was fantastic and his talent was amazing," Irvine told the Belfast Telegraph. "Then he wanted to be a movie star or a rapper or something else.

"People want their sports stars to be 100 per cent committed to being sports stars. I think he is coming back from that now though and it would be nice if he could challenge Vettel," added the former F1 winner, who also raced with Jordan and Jaguar.

"Lewis and Fernando Alonso are the two guys capable of taking Vettel on if their cars are up to it.

"Unfortunately, they aren't at the moment."