Verstappen deserves points lead after Hamilton’s ‘huge mistakes’, says Villeneuve

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen and Red Bull deserved to keep their championship leads after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as they have made fewer mistakes than their rivals, says 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve.

Lewis Hamilton lost his chance to regain the points lead after running wide at a restart with two laps to go. The Mercedes driver was on course to finish at least second and overturn Verstappen’s four-point lead at the top of the standings.

Verstappen had been leading the race comfortably when he retired due to a sudden tyre failure. Hamilton’s error meant the Red Bull driver retained his championship lead, while Sergio Perez’s victory extended the team’s advantage at the top of the constructors’ standings.

“They deserve it,” Villeneuve told RaceFans, “because if you look at it, the only mistakes Max has made this year is running wide in Bahrain, finishing second instead of first, and running wide in Portugal and losing one point for not getting [fastest lap]. That’s it.”

Hamilton has made two significant errors this year, said Villeneuve, but lost few points for one of them at Imola, where he went off the track and damaged his car.

“If you look at Lewis: Imola, [he was] lucky, he should not have been in the points, he should have been in the back. But he recovers, finishes second, because there’s a red flag at the right time. But he did make a huge mistake.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Imola, 2021
Hamilton finished second despite Imola error
“Then last weekend, that was a big mistake. Even though which and whatever, it’s a huge mistake. And in Monaco, he was not on it, he was way behind his team mate as well.”

Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas also needs to raise his game, Villeneuve added.

“Bottas is not on it at all. At Imola he was running at the back, here he was running at the back. Even though Perez had a tough beginning of the season, he’s generally been better off than Bottas. So it’s normal and it’s good that Red Bull is ahead in the championship.”

Villeneuve was speaking to RaceFans in an exclusive interview for a future edition of My F1 Cars

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2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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112 comments on “Verstappen deserves points lead after Hamilton’s ‘huge mistakes’, says Villeneuve”

  1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    8th June 2021, 13:41

    Sorry JV, he’s made a lot more mistakes than that, he has just been lucky and Lewis did not make him pay for them.

    Didn’t Lewis lose this race to begin with due to a pit stop which wasn’t his fault?

    1. @freelittlebirds No he didn’t actually, Perez had an equally long stop and still came out ahead of him.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        8th June 2021, 13:55

        @tflb yeah but Lewis had no control over Perez’s strategy. You’re right that he would have been ahead of him.

    2. Chris Zarate
      8th June 2021, 13:55

      Please don’t talk about luck because we all know who has loads and loads of luck throughout his career.

      And do you honestly think Lewis will win this without the slow pitstop? If you do then you might be one of the few who still believe that, why? Forget about Max for a minute and just compare Lewis and Checo, they both lost about 2+ seconds because of slow pit stop but Checo still came out in front and Lewis could not pass him the WHOLE race.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        8th June 2021, 14:58

        Checo still came out in front and Lewis could not pass him the WHOLE race.

        Well, the Red Bull was gaining 0.1 to 0.15 seconds per corner so, yeah, it was kind of impossible to stay for the Mercedes to hang with the Red Bull. We don’t know if the Merc could have stayed ahead of the Red Bulls for the whole race but Lewis seemed to do fairly well at the beginning of the race.

        1. @freelittlebirds
          Baku has 20 corners so by your calculation of 0.1-0.15 seconds per corner the Red Bull was 2-3 seconds faster per lap?
          Love it when people pull timings out of their behinds, like Hamilton claiming the flexiwings were worth 6 tenths.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            9th June 2021, 3:15

            @neutralino just watch a lap and you can decide the differential and what qualifies as a corner. If the Red Bull wasn’t pulling away in sectors 1& 2, the Merc would have eaten the Red Bull alive on the straights with a tow, faster speed, and DRS.

          2. @freelittlebirds
            But that’s the set-up compromises, Hamilton went with less wing and the Red Bulls couldn’t pass him on track, so had to do it in the pits. has a decent article about the set-ups of the Red Bull versus Mercedes, it’s a good read.
            Ultimately Mercedes couldn’t get a good set-up to work and you can’t talk about Red Bull gaining in the corners due to their set-up choices without similarly talking about where Mercedes gained due to their own set up choices. But again, it’s people pulling timings out of thin air that’s the funny part.

      2. It’s not luck if you’re always lucky 🙂

      3. @Chris Zarate Who’s lucky ? Hamilton ain’t lucky, that’s skills Max lacks.

    3. No, what are you talking about? Hamilton was never anywhere near taking the lead. The only unlucky person here was Max with that tyre blowout.

      1. @ajpennypacker Max was not unlucky at all, don’t start this nonsense, Max was driving like a mad man, even his engineer came on the radio to tell Max to slow it down because of his rear tyres where on to high temp. Max’s tyre blew because he couldn’t manage his tyres.

        1. Lol, when did they let you out?

        2. lol seriously? You’re in all seriousness suggesting that a puncture while drive over seemingly clean asphalt was anything but bad luck? His tyres didn’t fail, or degrade to an extreme. It was a blowout due to a puncture. That can happen to old tyres and brand new tyres. Like Russell in Bahrain last year. In every instance, it’s bad luck

          1. Do.Not.Feed.Them

          2. “Let me show you my equipment. I have the Enemy Tracker, it tracks enemies at all times. When it flashes red, it means that there is an enemy within near range. Yellow flashes means that there is an unpopular person who doesn’t think Ferrari and Haas are noobs. When it flashes green, it means that the person thinks Ferrari and Haas are noobs.”

  2. Hamilton was extremely lucky in Imola to walk away with 18 points, when normally it would have been 0 points. On the other hand, in Baku you could argue that he was extremely unlucky. The mistake only cost him about 5 seconds but because it was a restart it meant that he finished outside the points. In total these two mistakes cost him 18 or even 25 points. To me that evens out a bit.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      8th June 2021, 14:14

      I don’t think he was that unlucky in Baku given he said on the radio that he needs to think about the championship and implied that fighting for position wasn’t important. Given he then attempted to get by Perez and managed to hit a button that has always been there previously on an occasion where he himself implied he needs to be careful is very poor if I’m honest.

      All this said, I think he will have finished in the tail end of the points in Imola and 3rd in Baku if not for Verstappen’s retirement and Russell taking Bottas out. This likely will have resulted in him being around 25 points behind Verstappen.

      1. @thegianthogweed regardless of what he said on the radio beforehand, you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. He got the better start and in the blink of an eye was alongside Perez. He pretty much had no choice but to try and take the lead… I don’t know a single driver who would’ve backed out of that one, given his relative track position.

        Unfortunately for him, he hit a switch when pulling an upshift, which as you say was always there, so ultimately still his fault.

        I do wonder if he forgot to bail out of a sub-menu on the grid making it easy to accidentally re-enable the “magic” mode, seeing as it’s never happened before. If so, then I suspect he would’ve accidentally hit the switch regardless of how good his start was, so if he’d got a worse start would likely have taken Perez out of the race!

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          8th June 2021, 14:48

          Fair enough, but I still think he went overboard with trying to prioritise an excellend start when he implied he was just trying to focus on the championship. He looked like he overheated his breaks too (which i know was not related) But I don’t think he needed to try as hard as he did based on his own comments.

        2. I still don’t understand how he hit a switch, when clearly the magic button is on a rotary dial on all the pics of his wheel released by Mercedes. Hard to believe he did not forget to turn it off IMHO. Toto saying Lewis does not make mistakes is laughable. I agree with Jacques for the 2nd time this year, or twice ever. Lewis’s mistake in Imola was huge; he got very lucky. Valteri is finally proving his weakness, but Lewis did not want a challenger along side him after Nico beat him, and now that is coming back on him as well. Funny how when Merc is out front, Toto and Lewis always want competition, then when they have it, they look to stewards and make excuses. Just get on with it, we finally have a championship battle and I for one am quite happy; F1 has been a lousy series for way too long with it’s many tiers and no challengers.

          1. The magic button is actually on top of the steering wheel I believe. He did turn it off correctly but then if I’m correct he rested his hand against it and turned it back on.
            But yeah agree it’s good to have Mercedes under pressure again.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      8th June 2021, 15:07

      @matthijs He would been further behind Verstappen in the points but got lucky – even with his mistake, he still ended up better off than he would have if Verstappen had finished. So no… can’t really say it was an unlucky weekend for him. One one of the few occasions over the last 7 seasons where he hasn’t been in the fastest car, his rival for the Championship retires. Pretty lucky I’d say.

  3. Not often that I agree with JV, but he’s completely right here. Hamilton has made 2 massive (and uncharacteristic) errors already. But he’s only paid the proper price for one. Verstappen and RB deserve the lead in both championships.

    1. Chris Horton
      8th June 2021, 14:15

      I honestly don’t feel Hamilton’s mistakes are uncharacteristic, he’s always done this stuff when his car doesn’t give him a huge comfort buffer.

      It’s easy to look imperious when you’re only running at 90%. (The figure isn’t intended to be wholly accurate, just an illustration. Before we all go off piste.)

    2. @tflb Max has made far more errors, in Bahrain race, Imola qualifying and almost spunnin the race, mistakes in Portugal during qualifying and once again in the race, mistakes in Spain and again in Baku Free Practice and in the race asking too much from his tyres. Get your biased blinkers off and open your eyee, Max has made the most mistakes and only leads because the Red Bull is the better car, nothing else.

      1. You are funny.
        But always nice to have someone like you.
        Keep up the good work!

      2. @noname
        All those small errors by Max don’t nearly compare to the magnitude, the size and the sheer scale of Hamilton’s mistakes.
        You sure are funny for a laugh, but no-one can take your opinions seriously.

        1. Expect him to say Ferrari isn’t a noob team nowadays.

    3. F1oSaurus (@)
      9th June 2021, 14:37

      @tflb Hamilton was “unlucky” that he triggered the brake magic button by accident in Baku.

  4. Are we watching tje same races? Verstappen should have won almost all races this year so far but hamilton/ merc capitalized on their misgivings. Yes lewis has made mistakes but to say or diminish verstappens mistakes is not fair. A mistake whether colossal or small is the same. Its still a mistake and at that level neither can or should be making mistakes because they stand to lose soo much per race. Some of lewis mistakes are also part due to others. Thus far jv is rigbt redbull / vers should be in the lead. But more because they had the better car in most of the the first few races. Unless we painting with different brushes…

    1. 50/50. I think Hamilton is looking ‘edgy’ up to now, some excellent qualifying sessions and races, even at Baku, but also two big errors that could have cost him a massive deficit to Verstappen (+18 Imola, +25/26 Baku) and a truly dreadful performance at Monaco. That’s simply not championship-winning level driving and not really deserving of a championship compared to Verstappen so far. Going off track twice is poor, poor, poor.

      1. BTW, Lewis damaged his car in q3 in Monaco. Another mistake low key because his times already were terrible.

    2. A mistake whether colossal or small is the same


      1. @balue
        Big mistakes matter more, of course.

    3. @Wayne Well said. Max has made mistakes in Bahrain race, Imola qualifying and almost spun in the race, mistakes in Portugal qualifying and again in the race, mistake in Spain, mistake in Baku Free Practice and in the race asking too much from his tyres that even his engineer came on the radio asking to take it easy but everybody turns a blind eye to that

      1. @noname
        You know you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel when you’re bringing up practice mistakes.
        Your opinions are a barrel of laughs too that they are so crazy.

    4. My overall take out so far is that RB has improved its car slightly and is approaching the Mercedes package. The circuits we have seen so far slightly suit RB more so I do not think they can challenge Mercedes all year long however. In fact RB failed top capitalise to the extent they should have, leading to no good prospects for the rest of the year.

      Meanwhile Lewis and Toto show some serious cracks under pressure, especially keeping in mind that ‘their circuits’ are still to come. Max really got under Lewis skin and as a result he makes uncharacteristic mistakes. Then again, when have we seen Lewis really having to fight an opponent since Alonso? All the others where internal candidates of which only Rosberg could beat him once and since then Toto has defused that with Bottas.

      So RB still not delivering enough and Mercedes & Lewis needlessly cracking under pressure.

  5. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    8th June 2021, 14:19

    For several years now Mercedes have not just had a superior car by quite a margin but they’ve benefitted from very good luck, but this year their car advantage while still there is considerably smaller and that’s placed some new limitations upon them. Tactics and actions they would have done or relied upon are no longer working, or at least not as guaranteed to work and that’s opening them up to mistakes. They’ve still been exceptionally lucky; Villeneuve is right they were incredibly fortunate at Imola and until the magic button they were on course to have incredible good fortune in Baku, but I think they’re having to adjust their expectations at the moment as what they usually do isn’t guaranteed to work.

    Of course it’s a matter of time until they iron out those issues and this car becomes a dominantly bulletproof monstrosity like its predecessors and any vague idea that Red Bull had a hope for the title is erased, but at least for now there’s a fight. It’s telling that Red Bull have to be 100% or 110% of maximum to win, and only barely are able to best a wounded Mercedes.

    1. their car advantage while still there

      Are you for real? Granted, they have a car advantage over some of the field but surely you can’t claim include Red Bull there. What will it take for you to actually acknowledge that as of now – i.e the last race – Red Bull have a faster car?

      1. Tend to agree. The other races were close enough for the drivers to make a difference (e.g. with VER and HAM being ahead of BOT and PER). However at Baku both Red Bulls were faster. Possibly (probably) a combination of circuit and softer tyres, but no matter, they did clearly have the faster car. As they had at Monaco too. And are likely to have the same elsewhere.

        1. @david-br Just responded to your response to me on the ‘Mercedes can’t afford mistakes’ type article and will say similarly here that I lean a bit more towards the opinion of @rocketpanda that I am leery of the other shoe dropping and that Mercedes will find their way yet. For sure RBR are looking very promising, but I’m not convinced yet that Mercedes won’t figure some things out, and/or that it will depend on the track. There may yet be too many races where Max is simply not equipped if Mercedes finds some answers to their woes. It’s just been too few races yet, and I still think of Mercedes’ mistakes as anomalies to be saying things such as you suggested in the other article that this is already Max’s WDC to lose. I don’t think we are anywhere near sitting with enough info and results to be saying that. As I said, Mercedes have been a dominant dynasty, and now we have had a handful of races when it has been see-saw between LH and Max, so that doesn’t to me already equate at this point in time to Max/RBR = dynasty beater, nor ‘new benchmark.’ As a Max fan, here’s hoping, but I dare not hope too much for now, and I think we need to see more.

          1. No I think you’ve just picked up the wrong idea @robbie , I’m not implying Red Bull are ahead. I’m just saying they’ve been ahead over one lap or in races at a number of the tracks so far. I’d put it even (actually slightly RBR’s way, but that’s probably more arguable). Who knows who will develop the most strongly. Red Bull have typically been stronger towards the end of a season, Mercedes tend to solve their problems. But I don’t see their rake/rear downforce/soft tyre heating issues, there from the season start, as so easily solvable given this year’s regulations severely restricted their possibilities.

          2. @david-br No that’s fair, I just took you saying it’s Max’s to lose as to mean they’re ahead and will stay there unless for example Max/RBR starts making mistakes and ‘losing it’ lol.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        8th June 2021, 15:11

        For the last 2 races, Red Bull have had a better car. No doubt. The question is whether this is because of a development or whether it’s just track specific. We could see at Baku that the Red Bull had much more traction coming out of the slower corners which is going to benefit them at tracks like Monaco and Baku but we’ll see how things play out in France. I have a feeling Mercedes will be back on top again.

        1. Track specifics, slow corners etc. Monaco traditionally RB and Baku RB just had to improve their straight line speed. A lot of drivers have already referred to the mickey mouse tracks being over for now and we resume to normal circuits. Thats why I do not understand Lewis and Toto worry, unless it is ofcourse part of their underdog narrative again

      3. Do you think Ferrari is a noob team?

      4. They dont. Monaco and Baku are hardly representative. Merc still the best package but showing some cracks under pressure. Merc should not be so stressful as eventually the tracks coming will suit them so much better. Its just that they are not used of having this pressure. And Hamiltons mental part has always been a challenge to him, which hou can see in him reverting to mental games when the going gets tough. Ask Rosberg

    2. @rocketpanda

      “a dominantly bulletproof monstrosity like its predecessors”

      It’s hard to take you seriously with these kinds of comments. 2017 and 2018 Mercedes were not dominant and Ferrari in different circumstances would have taken that fight to the final race and who knows what would have happened. It’s clear that Red Bull are at least now on par with Mercedes, plus the fact we have 2 races now at Austria coming up where RB have been fine in the past at the circuit they actually own. Don’t let any of this affect your narrative though, I think we all know where that lies.

      1. @john-h For me it is exactly 2017 and 2018 that I think of when I worry as a Max fan that Mercedes might find some answers and take over the second half of this season just as they did in ’17 and ’18. In those seasons LH was also winning in the first halves too, not just SV, so in those seasons they knew all along that they had a winning car, but just a bit of a diva, until they learned more. “On par with Mercedes…” has so far depended on what track and what session, as it was for SV in those two years, so of course I am hoping LH/Merc doesn’t find their way as they have in the past, but the problem is…they have in the past.

        1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
          8th June 2021, 18:02

          John-H doesn’t like me, lol.

          “2017 and 2018 Mercedes were not dominant” – Ok let’s just take a look at the numbers. Numbers don’t lie, right?

          In 2017 there were 20 races. Mercedes took 15 Pole positions and 12 wins. Ferrari meanwhile took 5 pole positions and 5 wins. Mercedes were on pole, or won, over half the races in that season. Mercedes have 10 pole positions and 7 race wins more than Ferrari managed over the season.

          In 2018 there were 21 races. Mercedes took 13 pole positions and 11 wins. Ferrari meanwhile took 6 pole positions and 6 wins. Mercedes were – again – on pole, or won, over half the races in that season. Mercedes have 7 pole positions and 5 race wins more than Ferrari managed over the season.

          I’ll grant you not the utter and complete domination of the previous three years but I’m confused how you couldn’t say that’s a fairly dominant victory? If it was within two or three perhaps, but it wasn’t. Talking like ‘in different circumstances they could have taken it to the final race’ is meaningless because they didn’t, those stats are what happened. I’m not even sure why you take issue with me calling an obvious domination as domination, Mercedes had a fantastic car. Good for them, own it, but don’t pretend they had to fight particularly hard for it.

          1. Your numbers don’t take into account the drivers at all @rocketpanda, Singapore 2017 was a classic example of this. It’s not that I don’t like you, it’s because the hyperbole and vitriol on this site recently is starting to , well, get on my nerves tbh having been here since 2008. Never have I read so many ridiculous statements in the comments until this season. I believe Max to be the greatest driver out there at the moment and Hamilton fading, however the comments about Mercedes being dominant for so long is not true, they had a real challenge in 2017.

            Anyway I’ll stick to my language, you stick to the hyperbole.

          2. Oh I forgot to add, lol.

          3. When will everyone get it. There is no luck involved. LH and Mercedes clearly won with an inferior car in 17, 18 and 19 (Ferrari was clearly faster in all those seasons), RB are faster this season.

          4. @jaymenon10
            It’s already been demonstrated to you on another article why the Ferrari wasn’t fastest in 2017 and 2019 at least (open to debate on 2018). Why do you continue with these untruths? Is your mind made up despite all the evidence staring you in the face? Have you been taking every word of Toto Wolff as gospel the past 5 years?

    3. Couldnt agree more with this summary of the season so far. Nice to see the Mercedes team under competitive circumstances so we get to see what they are really made off

      1. RE Neutralino

        Why would you let truth get in the way of a good story? It’s 2021.

  6. Standings of the “f1 luckless Championship”:

    Race: HAM / VER
    Bahrain: 25 / 18
    Italy: 0 / 25
    Portugal: 25 / 18
    Spain: 25 / 19
    Monaco: 7 / 25
    Baku: 15 / 26

    Total: 97 / 131 (-34)

    1. Weird that no one includes Verstappens spin behind the SC in Imola as a mistake, just because the driver behind wasn’t on the ball, it went unpunished.

      1. He never spun and he never went off track

          1. He may have left the track, but, it was more of a fishtail slide than a spin…

          2. Every moment of those images there was a wheel on track.
            The white line is part of the track. So indeed, he never left the track.
            That was the opinion from leclerc also.

          3. Oh please stop about this twitch behind the safety car. Lewis has gone straight off track twice during a race as a result of being pressured. Thats in a totally different league. Just appreciate both drivers please and be glad they are human. In the end it wont be your or my hero anyway that will win, but the team that builds and operates the car.

        1. Yeah, he meant to put his car there, he felt his tires were too dry and wanted to get some water, grass and dirt on them. No mistake from Verstappen, move on, nothing to see here.

          1. @N
            It may have been a mistake, but he corrected it himself, so no luck whatsoever involved.
            Having superior car control allows you to push the car over the limit.

            Move on, nothing to see here.

          2. A mistake without any consequences hardly count as a mistake.
            We do not even know how many “mistakes” drivers make during a race. Most of them do not influence the outcome.

          3. “A mistake without any consequences hardly count as a mistake.”


          4. Rodric Ewulf
            10th June 2021, 4:04

            Lewis mistake in Imola is not comparable to that glitch of Max because Max promptly corrected himself from the slide and as such it did not affect the outcome of the race by his own merit: he made a mistake but was successful in avoiding a running-off and/or collision on treacherous track conditions. As for Lewis blunder, it was irrecoverable without a huge amount of luck as he already had gone off and hit the wall. He cannot claim he made amends for his shunt on his sole merit because without a SC to save him he could only finish in the ending tail of points positions at best. It’s actually laughable that Lewis fans dig on to find Max minor mistakes while trying so hard to hide or making the most bizarre excuses for the huge ones of their superstar, and in that case it’s even more weird as there wasn’t even any damage that Max collected for him to recover in first place, just a big “if”, if he had lost control. Well, he didn’t, and that’s the reason why he is ahead of Lewis in the WDC even with way less luck than his opponent: more consistency.

      2. People have already went over this before. It would’ve been a big risk for Leclerc, albeit with a big payoff. There was such a small window though and Leclerc weighed up the risks versus the rewards. To say he wasn’t on the ball is a false narrative.

    2. That’s not correct, Hamilton would have still been in the points at Imola without the SC.
      He has had more luck this season than Verstappen though for sure.

      1. Prior to the Imola red flag, Hamilton lost close to a full lap and had it not been for the red flag, he would have needed to make the slow return to the pits and had a new front wing, which would have dropped him about another half lap. He might have climbed back into the points, but, it would only have been a couple of points at most.

        1. Yep you’re right @maddme.

    3. I agree with pointing out these numbers and that verstappen has so far been far better overall this year, BUT it’s very arguable that 0 points for hamilton in imola, I believe even without red flag he had some chance to get a few points.

  7. Best Car, Best Team, Best Driver, Best Father… summed it all you get Best Championship Winning Formula.

  8. Jacques Villeneuve in a previous interview said that he expects Hamilton to make more mistakes like the one he did in Imola in his championship battle with Max Verstappen because according to him he was not used to drive on the absolute limit over his last championship campaigns.
    Regardless of Hamilton, the guy is almost always spot on ! He doesn’t follow the general narrative and doesn’t care about what the others think of his opinions that can be sometimes unpleasant to a lot of people.

    1. @tifoso1989 I don’t think you’ll find a bigger JV fan around here than me, and you are right that he has never been afraid to speak his mind, and as well he is often spot on with things he says. I hadn’t heard him opine about LH as you have cited, making more mistakes because he is having to drive more on the limit, and it does make sense at least in that he hasn’t had to do that since 2016 with Nico. For me as a Max fan, here’s hoping he and RBR can keep the pressure up, even at the coming tracks where LH/Mercedes finds themselves with the upper hand performance wise and LH finds himself in the usual front row spot. At least here’s hoping Max can at a minimum ensure LH can’t just control the pace out front and have the advantage of dirty air on his side. It’s going to be so fascinating to see how this season plays out.

      1. @robbie
        He said that during a virtual paddock appearance :

        It’s going to be a matter of who scores from the underdog position and who will crack first under pressure. Definitely a fascinating F1 season.

        1. @tifoso1989 Good stuff. Thanks for the link. I see that was from May 18, so JV was foreshadowing Baku. Related to JV’s line of thinking I would think LH will have some work ahead of him keeping that lost points opportunity in Baku from eating away at him.

  9. I hope Perez shocks the world and wins the title. That would be epic for F1!

    1. If Max his tyres blows all the time and Lewis locks his tyres yes then he deserves it@!

  10. Jockey Ewing
    8th June 2021, 15:40

    I don’t exactly understand, why there is a separate button for setting the brake balance 100% to front and 0% zero (if these are the actual figures).
    Probably because it would be unsafe to allow it via the usual brake balance “setter”.
    But then obviously that “setter” would simply not allow it, it would allow usual brake balances.
    To me the whole thing is a bit unbelievable, apart from this: this type of going off track at T1 looked like a front lockup. At a front lockup you go straight, as it is barely possible to steer as the front wheels are not rotating.

    I would make this “100% brake balance to front” button a “2 hander” one, so you would have to press two buttons with 2 hands for safety measures, to exlude acindentally activating it. It would be totally fine, as it is dangerous, and as it is rarely used. Imo if the activation of it not included additional preconditions like “low” speed, then it was not a wise implementation.

    On the other hand, as Hamilton’s brakes smoked so much on the grid, I think it was more like a “closed brake duct”. This would be a feature which is a bit more conventional, probably a bit less error prone (but many things are in F1, which are find quite counter-intiutive), but not reopening it is still a mistake. Or he really heated up the front brakes this much with using the aforementioned 100% brake balance to front.

    I don’t know what caused the Mercedes powered cars to relaitvely struggle at this GP, but probably they brought some updates, and they not really talked of them, as those were not smally updates, and they were a bit unsure if those will succeed.
    On the other hand it is a bit strange that the Honda powered teams delayed their first engine replacement this long, and they delayed it despite of this track required a great amount of power. But in the end we have seen some reliability related issues at Perez, Gasly, and Tsuonda had an engine problem previously as well, so they can not be calm about this yet. But it seems they have forced Mercedes to turn up their engines, or to deliver some rushed updates which was a rare sight at most of the times in the last decade.

    Seeing the title of the article I have thought: “hmm JV rarely criticised Bottas yet, maybe he is a fan of him or something like that”. But then JV delivered some usual honesty. I do not know hat to expect from him at th MY F1 cars article, as I know a little bit little of him, but I’m definitely looking forward to see it. Probably it will be hard to uber Paul Stoddart, and some other icons, but still.

    1. Jockey Ewing
      8th June 2021, 15:43

      …but many things are in F1 which I find quite counter-intiutive…

  11. Even this is a contest it seems :-). I think the Imola mistake is one that most people can agree upon. It was a mistake and through sheer luck there was a red flag at exactly the right moment. The Baku one i find tricky. One could even argue Hamilton was very unlucky that Masi/Liberty decided on a standing start for the last two laps. That was no error of him, and he couldn’t do anything about it.

  12. If you add it all up, we’re still lucky to have a WDC race. Without Lewis his luck:

    Max would have gotten; 18 + 25 + 18 + 19 + 25 + 26 = 131 points
    Leiws would have gotten; 25 + 0 + 25 + 25 + 6 + 15 = 96 points

    A 35 point difference, instead of 4. And that’s excluding Bahrain, where Lewis obviously was on the lucky side of the coin with the track limit debacle. I still feel it would have been better to just let it go, or hand both drivers a 5 sec penalty after the race. Then the point difference would have been 49 points.

    1. As I say above, he would have still got points at Imola without the SC in all likelyhood @montalvo. Not sure how many, but certainly more than 0.

      1. @john-h I seriously doubt it would be a decent amount of points. Hamilton came back on track the exact same time when Bottas and Russell collided, behind Ricciardo. He had to drive slower ánd had a long pitstop coming up. You’d already lose 30 seconds with a normal pitstop, you can add at least 10 secs with the damage he had, plus probably 10 seconds lost on his way to the lits. He would have dropped back to all the way behind Alonso (15th) if he would have been able to do race speed, which he wasn’t. Alonso was 30 seconds behind the number 10.

        So to conclude, Hamilton would have ended up on P15, 30 seconds behind P10, and not the easiest cookies in between. That’s a lot of ground to make up.

        1. Indeed @montalvo, you’re right. I thought that maybe a couple might be possible but looking at the times again that’s unlikely. Definitely Hamilton has had more luck this season than Verstappen that’s for sure.

        2. Yes, very few points possible, but 0 seems an exageration, it’s a mercedes with a non-bottas driver we’re talking about, mercedes was the fastest car in the race at imola and the drivers between 10th and 15th place were ofc slower than the ones hamilton breezed past in the actual race.

    2. Jockey Ewing
      8th June 2021, 16:28

      Yes, we have seen many good recoveries from Hamilton at the last few years, so such error would be a 0pts from a midfield driver in a midfield car, but likely not from a top driver at a top1 or top2 car, especially not from Hamilton or Verstappen.

    3. @montalvo Even at a 49 point difference I wouldn’t be ready to call the championship over tbh. There are a lot of races still to come, probably 15 or so depending on what gets cancelled. And while development is likely to be limited (though I don’t fully trust the teams saying it will be close to zero), there are still improvements to be made in terms of setting up the car, managing and warming tyres etc, which seems to be an area Mercedes has a lot of room for improvement in. On top of that, there is a change incoming to address rear wing flexibility which is expect to hurt Redbull more than Mercedes. Too many factors at play and too many races ahead to be confident of any outcome at this point in time in my opinion, regardless of what the points situation was.

  13. Jockey Ewing
    8th June 2021, 16:22

    Imo this can be one of the greatest weapons of Max, that he apparently capable of beating anyone excluding the factory Mercedes drivers at all of the races, based on the last 2 seasons. With team orders to Perez it can be done at almost all races.

    On the other hand, if you look up the last few seasons:
    – generally it was very much possible to become a World Drivers Champion with delivering 2nd placements at all of the races before Lewis Hamilton’s and Mercedes’ dominance
    – but at the last few years Hamilton often had more points on average considering the whole season, than the points for 2nd placement at every GP

    But taking the 2nd placement at every GP means, that Lewis is not taking it, and a non-intra-team championship battle is likely much more hotter that these days, as F1 seems to be a bit too overmanaged today.
    So I’m quite much enjoying this championship, apart from that I’m sad for Pirelli’s blowouts, crashes, and some interesting race control decisions. Imo finishing the Baku race under safety car would have been more conventional, than having a red flag + standing start for 2 laps. A standing start with a 2 laps stint adds too much variance to this genre. By that time the drivers had fought their battles, the last 2 laps is often just processional at F1, basically no one who watched F1 for long had a serios problem with finishing it under Safety car conditions.

  14. Apples and pears. They both made mistakes, Verstappen almost binned it behind the safety car. Both top drivers making the occasional error, both worthy winners

  15. What was it that Hamilton said about how he was benefiting from his opponent’s mistakes this year, meant as a taunt?

    He has thrown away maybe 40 points just from errors, just freak luck it’s only 30 on the books.

    1. I agree!!

  16. I reckon Merc will make enough mistakes this year to loose.
    The same applies to Lewis.
    I am a die hard Lewis fan but some of his comments just made me feel he is being cocky and smug.
    Max is doing the talking on track and Lewis is now unnerved enough that he will not win this year because he will psych himself out of the title.

  17. Disclaimer I’m a Hamilton supporter, I really want to see him take an 8th championship

    But Verstappen’s crash broke my heart, I’d hate him to win it the way he lost 2016. So I felt my heart sink when he went off, but also relieved that he didn’t inherit the championship lead by luck. Although if Verstappen loses by less than 10 points I guess it will still be the case that this decided it

    1. @philipgb The thing is, it takes a season worth of circumstances added up, so I don’t believe in pointing to any one race. That’s just selective convenience as far as I’m concerned. So I don’t buy for example LH losing by one dnf in 2016. It was about all the things that happened. Nico’s strength and hard work, letting LH by in Monaco, LH’s difficult starts, the tough racing between the two of them etc etc. And of course yes the unreliability on LH’s side. That’s just the way the season played out, but it takes a whole season of races before they hand out the big trophies.

      Oh sure I understand the convenience of playing the ‘if only’ game as if one could wind back the clock and substitute one circumstance or event and lay it all on that one occurrence, but it’s folly to do that as it doesn’t change anything, and if one can pretend, as in ‘if only’ or ‘what if’ then it’s just as easy to say then what if Nico hadn’t struggled at Monaco and let LH by etc etc. There’s no meat to an argument like what if he hadn’t had that dnf when the fact is, he did, so there’s always an easy counterpoint to the what if this or if that argument. Just as a thousand little and big events made up each driver’s season and that’s what went into the history books for forever.

      There’s an honour to you not wanting LH, even as a fan, or perhaps especially as a fan, to inherit the WDC lead by luck, but at the same time that is just what happens sometimes. Max was robbed of a 25 or 26 point day but that is what is now in the history books of F1 and was on it’s own out of LH’s control anyway. But I respect you not taking glee in Max’s misfortune, and preferring LH to earn it in a better way.

    2. That was my view too heart broken but could angry with the red flag and restart because that would favours Lewis in my view (which wasn’t wrong as he took first but went off) and was thinking luckly Lewis again….

    3. I dont know Jacques, thats like saying Michael Schumacher deserved to be 1997 champion due to your mistakes during the season but you were lucky that you were running second behind hakkinens mclaren in the british, austrian and Luxembourg gps when he had engine failures & gained an extra 12 points due to those retirements… otherwise, without that luck, Schumacher would have become champion in japan despite not having the best car on the grid…unlike jacques who had the williams renault… just saying cos i dont understand why he needs to comment when, bar his first season, he never did anything spectacular

      1. I mean we all have a right to our own opinion, but jv has too many opinions & feels the need to air them all the time.

  18. Max has huge natural talent on the other hand hamilton is more experienced and calculated driver.

  19. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    8th June 2021, 22:16

    I think the title could be swayed largely on which of their teammates can get up and become a wingman. Max has been fighting Lewis with one hand behind his back for the last couple years while Mercedes has had Bottas to use as a tactical weapon. If Checo can perform like he did in Baku and Bottas keeps slipping Lewis will need to fight like he hasn’t had to in his career to beat Max. As for JVs comments, blah blah blah. Everyone makes mistakes in a season.

    1. Yea, its odd that hitting a button is such a major issue when Lando was doing a similar thing with his knee just a few races ago. And the last driver to have BM on when he shouldnt have? George Russell driving Hams car in Sahkir.
      I would think they will have to reposition this button by the next race. Maybe in the same position as Bottas has his. Seems RB use the DRS paddle for theirs.

      1. @ian dearing

        These cars are not particularly roomy…

        1. I agree. As my point was it not an unusual occurrence given the amount of buttons, dials, etc, all packed into a cockpit. Although having Hams button where it is; right next to clutch and gear paddles on the back of the wheel, seems unwise in hindsight. I would imagine it was Hams preferred position and never was an issue before drivers started using their own unique hand position to measure the clutch bite points. So in Hams case his left hand now has to reposition itself after every launch. Obviously brushing past buttons, etc, has he does.

    2. @canadianjosh Except that JV’s point was not about the usual mistakes that everyone makes, but about one particular driver who may be forced into mistakes by being pressured where he hasn’t become accustomed, and I’d add when the pressure is at it’s greatest. Sure all drivers make mistakes, and then there’s the kind when it is for wins and the WDC, and they can play on a driver psychologically much much more so than for a driver who makes a mistake but it is nowhere near one that costs him a title or a win chance or even a podium.

  20. He was lucky. No he wasn’t. Yes he was. No he wasn’t. Yes he was.
    He was unlucky. No he wasn’t. Yes he was. No he wasn’t. Yes he was.

    1. @danmar

      Glad to see that you agree with me.

      1. @danmar

        Can I help you?

        Yes…I’ve come here for an argument!

        No you haven’t.

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