Jacques Villeneuve suspects change in Lewis Hamilton ‘anger’ after big Ferrari move

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in a press conference ahead of the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton

1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve claims Lewis Hamilton is lacking his “anger behind the wheel” of old, with the “new environment” of Ferrari potentially what he needs to get it back.

Hamilton confirmed ahead of the F1 2024 campaign that this would be his final season as a Mercedes driver, having put pen to paper on a multi-year deal to join Ferrari.

Jacques Villeneuve feels Lewis Hamilton ‘anger behind wheel’ missing

But while Hamilton is looking to go out on a high at Mercedes, he finds himself behind George Russell in the F1 2024 intra-team battle, Russell boasting an 8-1 lead over Hamilton in qualifying, while scoring 54 points to Hamilton’s 42.

It was in Monaco that Hamilton suggested Russell’s qualifying advantage would remain a common trait through F1 2024, Russell having run the new Mercedes front wing first there, but Villeneuve said it is “normal” that a driver that is staying with the team, or performing better, gets that preference.

He went on to suggest that Hamilton is lacking his trademark “anger behind the wheel”, which he hopes he will rediscover at Ferrari.

Asked by Sky F1 about the mental impact of a team-mate whose future with the team is secured getting upgrades first, Villeneuve replied: “Well if the other person is ahead of you in the championship or has been doing a better job and you are leaving, it’s normal, you have to accept that with the decision you’ve made earlier in the year.

“And it doesn’t seem that Lewis has his anger behind the wheel that he’s had in the past and hopefully he gets it back at Ferrari.

“He needs that new environment to get excited again.

“But Mercedes is doing the opposite of McLaren, where McLaren always say they won’t be good and they go beyond expectation, Mercedes does the opposite. Every time they come to a track, ‘Oh, this is better’ and it doesn’t show.”

Key talking points from the 2024 Canadian GP

👉 Toto Wolff reveals ‘what was said’ to Carlos Sainz in Mercedes seat talks

👉 Jacques Villeneuve’s bold and savage quotes: Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton targeted

As Hamilton prepares to launch from P7 at the Canadian Grand Prix, a race which he has won a record-equalling seven times, ex-F1 driver turned pundit Karun Chandhok said that if there is any track where the Brit “can re-spark some of that Lewis Hamilton magic”, it is the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

“If there is a track on the calendar where he can re-spark some of that Lewis Hamilton magic, this is it,” said Chandhok, “He loves this place, won his first grand prix here.

“He’s always been pretty special when he bounces the car, placing it on those kerbs and stuff.

“This is a place where, to Jacques’ point, if he does need to rediscover some magic, this is the place to do it at.”

Russell prepares to start the Canadian Grand Prix from pole after he and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen set identical times in a thrilling Q3 session.

Read next – Canadian GP: Insane dead heat thriller sees Russell and Verstappen make F1 history