Lewis Hamilton appeared not to grasp the gravity of Michael Schumacher's plight by slipping into motivational jargon while discussing the stricken German.
Hamilton claimed "everything happens for a reason" while discussing Schumacher's grave situation, adding that he thought the life-threatening coma in which the racing legend lies was a chance for him to display his strength.
Hamilton was speaking ahead of this weekend's Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne. He replaced Schumacher at Mercedes after the 45-year-old's retirement in 2012 and is tipped as a potential world champion this year.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Hamilton said: "He's a legend in the sport, you know, who has achieved so much, a very motivated individual. So I feel like all things happen for a reason, I think that this is an experience that will really show his character and depth and even more so than any other experiences he's had."
Hamilton said he was in regular contact with Schumacher's family and his genuine concern for the seven-time formula one champion cannot be doubted. But using motivational slogans risked trivialising the situation.
This week, Schumacher's family claimed there were "small signs" of progress being made in attempts to wake him up from the coma in which he has lain since late last year. Spokesman Sabine Kehm said they "remain confident" he shall recover.
It follows reports last week that they had been told by doctors that Schumacher "needs a miracle." The father of two has already spent far longer in a coma than usual, with the chances of making a full recovery declining in inverse proportion to the time he remains unconscious.
Fans have mounted vigils outside Grenoble University Hospital where the former Mercedes driver has been treated, after crashing while skiing in the resort of Meribel late last year.
Hamilton carried a message of support for Schumacher on his Mercedes car during winter testing for the new season, which gets underway at Melbourne this weekend.