Formula 1: “If Hamilton were French, nobody would get tired of it”, considers Jacques Villeneuve

World champion 23 years ago, Jacques Villeneuve, 49, already knows his successor this season in Formula 1. It’s the same as in 2008, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Lewis Hamilton will win his seventh world title to equal Michael Schumacher in F1 history. With three races to go, the Briton could be crowned this Sunday at the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul if he finishes ahead of Finland’s Valtteri Bottas. Jacques Villeneuve will comment on the race live on Canal + (11:10 a.m.) – before an average of 915,000 subscribers, 20% more than in 2019 – as he has been doing since 2013.

Was it possible to consider that Lewis Hamilton would not be world champion in 2020?

JACQUES VILLENEUVE. No. I would even say that the shortened and concentrated format of the season (Editor’s note: dix-seven Grand Prix, instead of twenty) has been of benefit to him. He travels with his private jet, he can move as he wants and nevertheless rest between races more than other pilots. Now, it is not yet certain to be sacred in Turkey… Bottas will try to annoy him and that’s good.

Isn’t his domination boring?

We cannot blame him for trivializing excellence. We are not going to make it slow down to save the others. It is normal that those who do everything they can to win crush everything in the end, especially if they are the best. If Hamilton were French, no one would get bored, you wouldn’t ask the question and everyone at home would be happy …

Who is the greatest driver in history: Schumacher or Hamilton?

Schumacher had years where he didn’t have the best car and won anyway. It is the nuance with Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton can be crowned world champion for the 7th time this Sunday in Turkey. AFP / Antonin Vincent

Which of the two do you personally prefer?

I did not meet Hamilton, to whom I spoke only a few times, unlike Schumacher. Hamilton’s positions don’t matter to me. But his race management interests me. We can feel him in osmosis with his team. He is capable of taking risks, but he also calculates absolutely everything. He is at the top of his game.

Hamilton seems however to show some signs of weariness concerning the rest of his career …

You find ? Not me. He still wants to go for an eighth world title. This year, with seven titles, he equals Schumacher. In 2021, he will have the opportunity to be the first at all levels, it’s giant. He still has a goal and if that is not a source of great motivation… Afterwards, he can do what he wants: actor, singer… He has plenty of other projects.

Pierre Gasly won the Italian Grand Prix: a French world champion soon, is it possible?

His victory was awesome (Editor’s note: Canal + broke its audience record with 1.2 million viewers that day). It wasn’t just an accident. He deserves to win races but he’s not in the stable ( AlphaTauri ) which allows it to do so. In a good car, he can go for a championship. Esteban Ocon is not at his level.

And Charles Leclerc?

He can of course. It’s a shame for you that he’s Monegasque and not French …

Are you enjoying this coming F1 season?

Yes. What made it interesting was the concentration of the Grand Prix and the circuits that have appeared on the calendar just for this season and that we have discovered. They are atypical compared to modern F1 and that’s good.

But isn’t Formula 1 more boring than before?

Before, the drivers played their skin in the car. They were not asked to be physically ready, but mentally. The cars broke, the pilots made mistakes which caused twists and turns. In 2020, the pilots are healthy, eat well, train well. They do everything perfectly and the cars are super reliable. So in the end, it makes sense that the best always wins.

Will it one day be ecological?

We must stop fooling ourselves with that! Why was it once said that F1 must be green? F1 has never had an ecological goal. It is not his vocation. It is there to seek out pure performance in order to develop technologies.

Do you have a World Champions Friendship you belong to with Hamilton?

No, in any case not with the new ones and since the same one has been winning for several years…. At one time, when we crossed paths with Prost in particular, we respected each other. It must be admitted that today there is less respect from current drivers for what happened before them in this sport.

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