Jacques Villeneuve was not always very kind to Lance Stroll, but this time he acknowledged that his compatriot was brilliant in collecting the first position of his career on Saturday in qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix.
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“He had an exceptional lap,” said the 1997 world champion in a telephone interview to Journal. He didn’t make any mistakes, unlike several other pilots. He took advantage of the fact, in particular, that Max Verstappen was hesitant in his last attempt.
“Really, this time, I have nothing to reproach him with,” continued Villeneuve. In these complicated conditions, you should not be too combative to drive quickly. It sounds contradictory, but it’s the key to success.
“It’s not lucky, he drove well. Several drivers used the same strategy, opting for intermediate tires at the end of the session. Except that he did better. “
Monza and Baku
Villeneuve has rightly pointed out that Stroll takes advantage of particular situations to stand out.
“In 2017, whether in Monza, where he was brilliant in qualifying, and in Baku [au Grand Prix d’Azerbaïdjan] when he is on the third step of the podium, he feels good when the context is difficult. “
Villeneuve is however not ready to bet on the chances of victory of the young Quebec driver.
“The more complex part will be the race, says Villeneuve, even if it is raining. You will have to take the first corner without any problem. I think it will be a race with twists and turns, no matter the conditions. “
And he could have added that Verstappen, who will start next to Stroll on the first row, will want to take advantage of the fact that Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes (6e on the starting grid) and Valtteri Bottas (9e) are behind him to maximize his chances of victory as soon as the red lights go out.
The memory of Jerez
Jacques Villeneuve is the last Canadian driver to score a leading position in F1 23 years ago.
“I sure remember,” he said. The race was going to get me my world championship the next day [en terminant troisième à l’arrivée]. My car didn’t perform well in qualifying, but just one lap made the difference.
How can we not remember that in Jerez, Spain, on the occasion of the European GP, the final stage of the 1997 season, three pilots, Villeneuve, Michael Schumacher and Heinz-Harald Frentzen, had set exactly the same time in qualifications?
They were separated by the regulations which stipulate that in the event of a tie, the one who achieved the best time first is credited with the pole position.