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Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2021

Villeneuve: Saudi Arabian GP was more Hollywood than sport

Former F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve has heavily criticised the events of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, describing the battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen as similar to "rental karting".

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To news overview © Red Bull Contentpool

Jacques Villeneuve has criticised the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix for being more like a "Hollywood show" than sport.

The eventful race involved several incidents and three starts, as well as plenty of action in the continuing title battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

However, Villeneuve has compared this to "rental karting" and was generally not a fan of many of the decisions made during the Grand Prix.

"It wasn't F1, it was rental karting," Villeneuve told Motorsport.com. "Everything was wrong, so I'm not sure what to say.

"And it's hard to stay neutral, it's hard to give a comment on what happened every time and be perceived as being neutral. You will always be perceived as taking sides, and that's when it becomes a bit too much.

"Do we want sport and good F1? Or do we just want a Hollywood show? If you want a Hollywood show, today was amazing. But is that what F1 is all about?

"I don't know. I mean, I think today Frank [Williams] would have turned in his grave, seeing this race."

"It really has become ridiculous"

Villeneuve has also focused his criticism at some of F1's team bosses.

"Then when you see the Team Principals, everybody is shouting, and putting pressure even on the marshals and so on, that becomes ridiculous," the 1997 World Champion said.

"It was great for the fans, so that probably will increase the viewership, which is great for F1. But we're starting to get away from the sport, that's all.

"So ultimately, it depends if you're a purist or not."

Another issue that riled Villeneuve was F1 Race Director Michael Masi's decision to seemingly negotiate with Red Bull over Verstappen's starting position at the final race restart.

"A deal being made? Never heard of that," the Canadian added.

"It's not in the rules. That one, I just I didn't get it."

Blame on DRS for Hamilton/Verstappen clash

One of the main talking points of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was the clash between Hamilton and Verstappen, where Verstappen appeared to be trying to cede position to Hamilton down the back straight into Turn 27 following an illegal overtake.

The pair then collided, with Hamilton seemingly caught out by the slowing Red Bull. Verstappen was later handed a 10-second time penalty for the incident.

Villeneuve has blamed the DRS (Drag Reduction System) for what happened.

"Someone slows down in front of you, you overtake," the former F1 driver explained. "The problem is those stupid DRS lines. And Lewis didn't want to cross the DRS ahead of Max.

"He knew Max was letting him by. He just didn't want Max to have the DRS for the next straight line, because Max would have overtaken him, so they both played dumb there."

With the title contenders heading to the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on equal points, Villeneuve hopes that the World Championship will be decided in a clean manner.

"It's a Red Bull track. But with the engine that Lewis has, every track is a Lewis track now. I just hope we have a nice clean race," he said.

"And may the best man win, and not anything like today, not Hollywood, at least not in the last race. We already got our Hollywood hits this year."

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