1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve is continuing his crusade against fellow countryman Lance Stroll. Stroll silenced most of his critics in 2017 after a string of decent performances including a podium. In early 2017, opinions on the Williams Martini Racing rookie were generally negative. Villeneuve even went as far as labelling Stroll as “the worst rookie in the history of F1”.
The 19-year old had a tough start to the season with a few retirements. But once the circus arrived in Canada, he found a new gear. Lance put together a string of good results, even achieving a podium finish at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku. But all that meant nothing to Villeneuve.
He said, “Even Massa was faster than Lance. His podium in Baku does not convince me as it was pure luck”. The 46-year old also aimed a few criticisms at his former team. He believes that Williams’ potential 2018 driver choice, which sees Sergey Sirotkin pitted against Robert Kubica, is only about money.
The Canadian continued, “They already sold their soul to the billions of Lawrence Stroll, who only cares about his son.” He also spoke on former Williams driver Valtteri Bottas. He is of the opinion that the Finn is nothing more than a competent number 2 driver. Villeneuve said, “Mercedes won because they still have the best engine, but only Hamilton was able to take advantage of it. Bottas’ performance was almost embarrassing. He is a solid number 2 and no more. I would have chosen Wehrlein.”
The veteran was banned from the Williams Martini motorhome during the 2017 season as he was overly critical of Lance. Deputy team boss Claire Williams said, “With regard to Jacques, he’s obviously been pretty vocal in the media. I don’t want to go into a huge amount of detail about it. The way that Lance describes it, he just wants to get on and let his track performance do the talking. I think that’s what we should do, because that’s when the critics will stop — when Lance proves he deserves to be in formula one, which we all at Williams believe anyway,” she insisted.