Villeneuve: It’s wrong to say Red Bull is unbeatable
"The unbeatable one is Verstappen"
1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve admits the current Formula 1 drivers he admires most at present are Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso.
The French-Canadian, fluent in Italian and well known in Italy via his fabled former Ferrari driver father Gilles and his work for Italian TV, was speaking at the Il Festival dello Sport in Trento.
La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper asked Villeneuve, 52, about Ferrari’s latest failed world championship campaign.
"Ferrari’s current moment is not positive," said the former Williams driver, "but this is part of its history - there are better moments and other cycles without victories.
"I like what (Carlos) Sainz is doing, because he always improves and has always helped the teams he raced for. But drivers today are too protected, they should be left more free - even to make mistakes," Villeneuve added.
When asked to name more of his favourite current drivers, he answered: "I admire Fernando Alonso, because he is hungry. It’s the difference that a great driver makes.
"I would ask kids who want to be drivers today - do you want it out of passion or because you want to be like Daniel Ricciardo, smiling in commercials?"
Villeneuve was also asked about Max Verstappen, and the apparently almost unbeatable 2023 Red Bull car.
"It’s wrong to say Red Bull is unbeatable," he insisted. "The unbeatable one is Verstappen.
"His strength is that he was never a child - he was mature even when he was little. He was created to be a champion by a father who was very hard on him.
"The truth is that, today, Max does not have a single weakness."
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