The six points separating Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton don’t tell the “real” story in this year’s title fight, that’s according to Jacques Villeneuve.
With just six races remaining this season, Verstappen has a slim six-point lead over Hamilton in the race for the World title.
Momentum has swung between the two throughout the season even when, heading into Sunday of the British Grand Prix, Verstappen had a massive 33-point advantage.
That was an eight-point deficit two Sundays later, Verstappen in the wars at the both the British and Hungarian races.
Altogether the Red Bull driver has seven wins and three DNFs, Hamilton has five wins and only one retirement, the Mercedes driver benefitting from red flags at Silverstone and also Imola.
“The points in the standings do not reflect the real situation,” Villeneuve told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Lewis Hamilton made many mistakes by paying a low price unlike Max Verstappen. I think about what happened to him in Hungary and earlier at Silverstone.
“Yet they’ve stayed close, so it’s hard to say who will win.”
“Verstappen and Red Bull was just perfect, while I catch the fatigue in Lewis and his team.
“The strategies? In the past Mercedes didn’t need to get them right and they won just the same. Like Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari: everyone said they were gods, geniuses, even when the strategy was wrong but they were so much stronger that they won the same.
“Furthermore, the driver and the team no longer seem united as before, at least according to their statements.”
However, the Canadian concedes that Mercedes’ engine could yet play a role in the title fight.
Speaking about the Turkish Grand Prix, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said there was “something is strange” about Mercedes’ PU with Hamilton “15/20 kph up after the kink on the straight.” He added that it was “phenomenal”.
Villeneuve reckons it will hand Mercedes the advantage at the United States and Brazilian GPs.
“In Turkey they mounted the largest wing and yet on the straights no one could stand up to them,” he said.
“Maybe they’ve turned up the engine power.
“With that engine Hamilton will do well in Austin and Brazil, it will be an incredible help.”