Villeneuve: 'Hamilton's new engine seems to be from another planet'.
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Villeneuve: 'Hamilton's new engine seems to be from another planet'.

03-12-2021 12:57

Jacques Villeneuve is looking forward to the final stretch of the 2021 season in Formula One. With the battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton nearing a conclusion, Villeneuve is keen to see how Mercedes and Red Bull Racing handle the pressure, whether there will be another crash between the numbers one and two in the World Championship and how the Brackley-based engine performs in the final two GPs.

Dealing with pressure

"Red Bull definitely is. Mercedes is very strong, but they have had it easy for many years, and you see that sometimes they react a little bit aggressively, badly, because they are not used to fighting and losing," Villeneuve said in an interview with La Gazzetta Dello Sport about the pressure that is increasingly mounting at both racing teams.

The one-time world champion did not expect Mercedes to hit back so hard in Brazil and Qatar. "Yes, because it was huge, all of a sudden.... Or they had something in reserve .... I don't know. It all seemed too sudden. Impressive. Let's see if they can continue that line in the last two weekends. Lewis' Mercedes this weekend is back on the engine it used at Interlagos. I think they are almost unbeatable with that engine."

No new Honda engine

The question that then arises is whether Verstappen will take a new engine in the final phase of the 2021 season. According to rumours, Honda was considering that, but Helmut Marko and Max Verstappen explained in recent days that this was not an option. Villeneuve would not deploy a new engine either. "No, because the Honda engine delivers the same number of horsepower from start to finish. The one from Mercedes is not only new, but it has something else in it... It really feels like it's from another planet," he says.

Much has also been said and written about a crash between Verstappen and Hamilton that could decide the world championship. Villeneuve is asked if he fears this will happen this year. "Yes, because the battle is so close. But there is a difference whether it happens as a result of the fight or because someone does something "dirty"."

Action by Verstappen over the limit

For that reason, in the Canadian's view, Verstappen should have been penalised for his defensive manoeuvre at Turn 4 in Brazil. "Yes, a penalty would have been appropriate, even though he didn't do much. He didn't damage [the car of] Lewis, who won anyway. But as these manoeuvres were penalised in previous races, they had to be penalised here too. But during the race and not after," he concludes.

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