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Jacques Villeneuve

Villeneuve questions why Hamilton lacked Canada pace in early season

Lewis Hamilton had a strong weekend at the Canadian Grand Prix, but Jacques Villeneuve believes that the seven-time World Champion may not have been driving to his full potential at previous races.

Hamilton Canada
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Jacques Villeneuve has suggested that Lewis Hamilton has not been driving to the "maximum of his potential" after he put in a stronger performance at the Canadian Grand Prix.

The seven-time World Champion returned to the podium for the first time since the season-opening race in Bahrain, and also finished ahead of Mercedes teammate George Russell for only the second time in 2022.

Despite this, Villeneuve believes that Russell probably would have outqualified Hamilton had he not taken a gamble on slick tyres during the final stages of qualifying, which took place in mixed conditions.

"He definitely had the pace [to outqualify Hamilton]," Villeneuve told the F1 Nation podcast.

"Lewis still was dragging his arms on the ground a little bit. Lewis needs to have this start to go and get, to be at his 100 per cent form.

"And this year, you have the impression he's not been driving to the maximum of his potential."

Villeneuve points to difference between Verstappen and Hamilton

Villeneuve feels that Hamilton's comments during the early stages of the Spanish Grand Prix – where he appeared to suggest to the team that they retire the car after a first-lap incident dropped him to the back of the field – reflect a different approach to that of his 2021 title rival Max Verstappen.

"[In Barcelona], he said, 'Well, let's stop, let's save the engine'," Villeneuve continued.

"He didn't want [to continue], and then ultimately got going and was competitive. So that's I think the difference with Max from last year. Max is 100 per cent the whole time, Hamilton isn't.

"But [in Canada], he was in front of his teammate. He could see the podium. Yes, he had extreme pace. Why didn't he have this pace earlier in the season? Because obviously, the pace can be there."

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: What's next in F1's porpoising row?

RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the key topics from the Canadian Grand Prix, including the fierce debate over the FIA's intervention on porpoising.

F1 2022 Canadian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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