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Jacques Villeneuve

Villeneuve: Points standings don't reflect Hamilton's mistakes

Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 F1 World Champion, believes Lewis Hamilton has escaped lightly from some of the mistakes he's made this season.

Hamilton Verstappen
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Jacques Villeneuve reckons that the current points standings don't accurately represent Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton's championship campaigns so far, with Hamilton escaping lightly from errors he's made this season.

The most obvious escape that Villeneuve could be referring to was at the San Marino Grand Prix, where Hamilton slid off the road into the barriers and damaged his car, while also falling a lap behind. However, a red flag stoppage allowed him to get back on the lead lap with a repaired car and he fought his way back to second place.

Just six points separate Verstappen and Hamilton with six races remaining.

"The points do not reflect the actual standings," Villeneuve told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Hamilton has made many mistakes, but he paid a low price compared to Verstappen.

"Just think of Verstappen's retirements in Hungary and Britain. Then these were easy races for Mercedes, where Lewis was a bit off.

"At other circuits, they had less pace or they made mistakes, like in Turkey. Yet they are still close in the standings and therefore it is very difficult to say who will win this championship.

"So far, Red Bull and Max Verstappen have been perfect, while you could see some fatigue in Mercedes and Hamilton."

Villeneuve believes that Mercedes aren't as strong as they have been in the past, but that their car's potential is improving as the season goes on.

"In the past, Mercedes didn't really need to push, they won anyway," he said.

"Like Ferrari with [Michael] Schumacher. Everyone said they were geniuses, even when they made tactical mistakes, they were so strong that they won in the end anyway.

"You can see with Mercedes that the team and the driver no longer seem to be as united as before, if you go by their statements.

"But you absolutely cannot write Mercedes off as dead. In Turkey, they drove with the biggest wing and still nobody could keep up with them on the straight. Maybe they have pushed the potential of the engine up, as there are only a few races left.

"If they can keep doing that, Hamilton will go well at Austin and in Brazil – it will be a big help."

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