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Villeneuve praises Hamilton but critical of Mercedes

Former Williams driver and 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve was happy for Lewis Hamilton after the Mercedes driver secured his second podium of the season at the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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Former F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve has praised Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton after the seven-time world champion claimed his second podium of the season at the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix.

Villeneuve, who a few weeks ago was self admittedly critical of Hamilton, was particularly impressed with the British driver’s race pace, on a weekend where it seemed like Hamilton was lost at sea after the Friday practice sessions.

“A few weeks back I was very critical of Lewis Hamilton so I have to give him credit for his performance,” Villeneuve told Formule1.nl.

“The car was competitive and Lewis drove very strong. It is important for him that he got the podium. On Saturday he won the qualifying duel after that strange gamble by George Russell.

“And Hamilton maximised the race, made the right decisions and also had the speed. It’s a difficult season and maybe this will be that needed boost. Maybe he has put his bad moments behind him now and is back in fighting mode.”

Villeneuve less impressed by Wolff

It’s no secret that the biggest losers in the 2022 technical reshuffle were Mercedes. The team has failed to adequately conquer their porpoising issues, which has significantly hampered both their drivers.

Team principal Toto Wolff seems to be lobbying the FIA to modify the rules, something that Villeneuve has heavily criticised, given that a modification of the rules would only benefit Mercedes.

“I am less impressed with Toto Wolff and his campaign,” Villeneuve elaborated.

“They [Mercedes] have always done everything in previous years to maintain their advantage. Now they have built a bad car and that is their problem, not the FIA’s. Other teams have solved it too, why should they be punished with a possible rule change?

“I think Mercedes have found something now, as though it was already there. They bounced less and were fast, they certainly didn’t raise the ride height. But I don’t understand the constant whining.

Mercedes’ George Russell in action during 2022 Canadian Grand Prix practice REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

“Racing is dangerous. Inhaling carbon from your brakes is also unhealthy, as are G-forces and dehydration during a long, hot race. Nobody is forcing Mercedes to set their car up this way.”

Mercedes left Canada with another healthy haul of points with Hamilton claiming his second podium of the season, while George Russell maintained his record of finishing in the top five during every race this season.

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