Jacques Villeneuve believes Lewis Hamilton is being forced to take big risks for the first time in years, which is unfamiliar territory for the reigning Champion.
Hamilton made a rare error during the Emilia Romagna GP, sliding off the track when chasing Verstappen for the lead of the race. The mistake resulted in a damaged front wing, with the Mercedes driver fortunate to be able to get out of the gravel and continue.
1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve thinks this season is a mouth-watering prospect, saying that the easy ride of the last few years for Lewis Hamilton is at an end.
“It's going to be exciting," Villeneuve told F1-Insider.
"You could already see at Imola that Lewis is no longer used to taking great risks. But he has to do that now because, unlike in previous years, he has an opponent on an equal footing who also drives for another team."
With Hamilton sliding off in the damp while trying to quickly lap traffic, Villeneuve said it was an error he wouldn't have made in previous seasons.
“Lewis risked too much lapping," the Canadian continued. "I doubt it would have happened to him in the past few years. The red flag that his team-mate Valtteri Bottas raised, of all people, saved him. He was very lucky. From now on he shouldn't rely on that anymore."
Villeneuve believed that even trying to hang around the outside of the Red Bull through Turn 2 was a mistake, and that Hamilton should have conceded the place earlier in the corner.
“Lewis should have pulled back against Max in the first corner because he was on the outside lane. But he held against it and ruined his race in the first corner. "