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Ex-F1 champion explains Verstappen trait he has 'never seen' in a racing driver

1997 Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve spoke exclusively to RacingNews365.com about a trait that sets him apart from the rest of the drivers on the grid.

Max Verstappen has shown how he can be ruthless with opposition on track, but there is one trait that 1997 Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve believes sets him apart from the rest of the drivers on the grid - including Lewis Hamilton. With more races being added to the F1 calendar, it's more important than ever for drivers to be consistent throughout the course of a season. On his way to a second title, Max Verstappen took 15 victories in the dominant RB18 two of which came from outside of the top ten on the grid in Hungary and Belgium. Speaking exclusively to RacingNews365.com, Villeneuve believes it is the Dutchman's ability to continue the momentum in his form without having a "dip" like most athletes experience in their careers. "Max is a machine, he really is a machine because he never has a dip [in form]," said Villeneuve. "The way he handles himself, the way he carries the whole season means he'll finish first instead of third in one race. I don't think that's something we've ever seen. "Every driver has had some moments where they're a little bit tired and not 'on' it, I don't know where he gets his energy from."

Villeneuve: Even Lewis Hamilton made mistakes at the top of his game

Most drivers tend to find the high intensity at the top level difficult to sustain, with Nico Rosberg electing to quit once he became the 2016 World Champion after 10 years at the pinnacle. The 2023 season is Verstappen's eighth in F1, and apart from disagreeing with the direction it has taken with the format changes, he has shown no signs of wanting to stop while at the top level. "It's nothing to do with age, he's not too young in racing terms because he's been racing forever," says Villeneuve. "So the exhaustion could be kicking in, but he doesn't seem to be tireless racing or driving weekend after weekend, doesn't matter how hard or easy it is, he's always at the top of his form. The mistakes are tiny but they happen." Villeneuve compares Verstappen to Lewis Hamilton, who still made mistakes when he was at the top of his game driving for Mercedes. "Even Lewis [Hamilton] in his best years he always had three or four races when he did a mistake, woke up again, and went for it," he explained. "In the beginning, he [Verstappen] was making mistakes that other teams might not have kept him on, but he's beyond that now and it's very impressive."

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