Jacques Villeneuve has been comparing Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen after the two lined up at the front of the grid for the Canadian Grand Prix.
Alonso produced the qualifying performance of his season so far to put his Alpine car in P2 alongside the Red Bull and showed the benefits of his experience as he was able to navigate the wet weather conditions in Montreal.
He went on to finish P9 in the race after engine issues saw him move further down the pack but it was a reminder of what the two-time World Champion is still able to do.
One of his former team-mates, Villeneuve, said the Spaniard was like Verstappen in his relentlessness and his refusal to give up on anything.
“It took him a little while to get up to speed in the Alpine and to get the team to work with him, to work in his direction, to develop the car in his direction,” Villeneuve, who was Alonso’s team-mate for three races at Renault in 2004, told the F1 Nation podcast.
“But he’s been unlucky this year either in strategies, pitstops, cars failing down. Today [the Canadian Grand Prix], the engine going down as well and that kept him in the back. Same thing with the pitstops with the Virtual Safety Car.
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“So it seems that he’s carrying some kind of weight with him and every time I talk to him, he says, ‘it just never goes right.’ He’s relentless. He’s like Max , he never gives up anything.
“He is race passionate and he’s a fighter, he just never gives anything up. He’s always hungry for more. It’s amazing.”
Alonso will turn 41 in July and is the oldest driver on the grid but Villeneuve believes that experience can make up for any lost speed which may come as a result of not being as daring as you once were.
“Age affects you when you’re not willing to take the risk anymore, you’re not willing to make the sacrifices anymore where you’d rather be at home than taking the risk on the track,” the 1997 World Champion said.
“And that’s when you start slowing down. That’s when your mind is not on it anymore.
“Physically, in modern days, we eat better, we train, so you don’t get old as quickly and it depends on how much you’ve hurt yourself in your racing career as well.
“But the hunger is still there, so you might lose a tenth or two but that gets overly compensated by experience. And as you can you can see now he’s a very experienced driver. He’s not the youngest on the grid but look what he’s doing against [Esteban] Ocon now. He’s there when it’s needed.”