Jacques Villeneuve Claims Lewis Hamilton Lacks Verstappen’s Consistency

Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 Formula 1 World Champion, has made a surprising claim, stating that Lewis Hamilton has “always” lacked the consistency of Max Verstappen, even during Hamilton’s peak years with Mercedes.

Verstappen secured his fifth consecutive victory in the Austrian Grand Prix, extending Red Bull’s winning streak in 2023 to nine races. He now holds an 80-point lead over his teammate Sergio Perez in the Drivers’ Championship.

With this latest triumph, Verstappen has won 32 out of the last 53 races, dating back to his title-winning season in 2021. In contrast, Hamilton, who dominated F1 with Mercedes from 2014 to 2020, is still without a win since the penultimate round of the 2021 season.

Villeneuve, in an assessment of Hamilton’s performance in the 2023 season, highlighted the Briton’s inconsistency throughout his career, while praising Verstappen’s consistent excellence. Villeneuve described Verstappen as a “war machine” and a “robot,” emphasizing his unwavering level of performance.

He told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “Hamilton’s performance fluctuates a lot from one weekend to another, even during the seasons when he was winning. He has never had a perfect year like Verstappen.”

When asked if he is amazed by Verstappen’s consistency, Villeneuve mentioned that only Fernando Alonso, currently driving for Aston Martin, can match the Dutchman’s intensity.

He stated: “I’m not amazed. Verstappen has always had extraordinary energy and never gives up. He consistently performs at his best throughout the season. It’s unbelievable how he does it, and perhaps only Alonso could be compared to him.”

Villeneuve further noted that while many other drivers experience ups and downs in performance, Verstappen maintains a high level consistently, making him unbeatable when he is in that state.

The rivalry between Verstappen and Hamilton intensified ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, with Hamilton suggesting that teams should have regulations preventing them from developing next year’s car too early. Verstappen mockingly responded, reminding Hamilton that such suggestions were not made when he was winning championships.

Hamilton also expressed frustration over what he considered a minor punishment for Red Bull’s breach of the cost cap in 2021. He argued that the penalty had no real impact on the team’s operations.

In conclusion, Villeneuve believes that Hamilton has struggled to match Verstappen’s consistent performance throughout his career, while praising Verstappen’s unwavering energy and dedication. The ongoing rivalry between the two drivers adds an extra layer of excitement to the 2023 season.