Villeneuve: Mercedes should now favour Hamilton in F1 title fight

Mercedes needs to consider favouring Lewis Hamilton over Valtteri Bottas in the Formula 1 title race soon or it risks losing the drivers' championship, says 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve

Villeneuve: Mercedes should now favour Hamilton in F1 title fight

Hamilton closed the gap to F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel to just seven points with victory in the Belgian Grand Prix, while Bottas finished fifth and is 34 further adrift.

Ferrari already appears to be backing Vettel over Kimi Raikkonen in its pursuit of a first drivers' championship since the latter triumphed in 2007 and first constructors' title since 2008.

"Bottas is not on Lewis's level," Villeneuve told Autosport.

"He's not in the same game, he's not in the same group, it's obvious now."

When asked if it was time for Mercedes to consider favouring Hamilton, the Canadian said: "Yes, but Toto [Wolff, Mercedes team boss] doesn't want to do it.

"He's protecting Bottas right now, he's the one who put Bottas there.

"Bottas is his driver, even though he says he isn't the manager anymore, it's still his driver.

"He is protecting him because he still needs to get him a contract for next year.

"Yes [it is risking the title]. They have already [lost] the points from [Hungary, when Hamilton gave back a position to Bottas as part of a team arrangement], so they need to consider it."

Bottas said at Spa he understood Mercedes would need to back one driver at some stage, but felt it was still too early for the team to do so.

"For sure at some point I understand if the team wants to really go for the championship, really make sure that at least one of the guys wins it," he said.

"But it's a bit early.

"There's still eight races to go, that's a big amount of points."

shares
comments
Honda makes Alonso's Belgian GP F1 engine available for Monza

Previous article

Honda makes Alonso's Belgian GP F1 engine available for Monza

Next article

F1's big 2017 weakness is exposed again

F1's big 2017 weakness is exposed again
Load comments
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021