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Jacques Villeneuve early F1 career


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#1 TheBunk

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 12:24

I know there is a 'where is jacques villeneuve?' thread but that didnt really cover his start in F1. With the discussion in the bbc top 20 drivers thread in mind, id like to know your take on his rookie year, subsequent championship in 1997, and where he stands vs that bbc top 20.

This is a nice article about him:

http://www.formula1....hall_of_fame/5/

Me, I still think he is the best rookie ever in F1. He set the records that havent been touched till this day. Some came close, but Villeneuve was fantastic in 1996, with many ballsy moves, outspoken character, and daring overtakes. I also dont think anyone can forget how he tried Eau rouge flat out, and got pole position at Spa when he only knew the track from a video game (gp2).

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#2 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 12:29

I think Hamilton had a better rookie year than Villeneuve. Mainly because Alonso is a little better than Hill.

#3 jrg19

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 12:30

I think Hamilton had a better rookie year than Villeneuve. Mainly because Alonso is a little better than Hill.


Agreed, Lewis also had more Poles and Podiums IIRC.

#4 Disgrace

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 12:34

The comparisons between Hamilton and Villeneuves early careers are interesting. Runner up in the first year with a seriously impressive display, a less impressive and more erratic display in year two but won the championship nonetheless and a third year in a car that gave neither a hope of retaining the title. However, those similarities ended when Hamilton did not move to a useless team for year four and subsequently and unfortunately ruined his career.

#5 GotYoubyTheBalls

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 12:35

Yes Villeneuve was the most impressive rookie ever in F1.

#6 Markn93

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 12:41

Big fan of JV, with one of my earliest/best F1 memories being the 97 Jerez race. Anyway just found this - some great racing, shame about how the outcome was achieved.

#7 MightyMoose

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 12:43

The comparisons between Hamilton and Villeneuves early careers are interesting. Runner up in the first year with a seriously impressive display, a less impressive and more erratic display in year two but won the championship nonetheless and a third year in a car that gave neither a hope of retaining the title. However, those similarities ended when Hamilton did not move to a useless team for year four and subsequently and unfortunately ruined his career.

Pretty much sums it up for me as well.

Shame for JV because I think he could have been a big contender for quite a few years had he not taken the (Un)Lucky Strike $$$$$.

#8 Kvothe

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 12:44

The comparisons between Hamilton and Villeneuves early careers are interesting. Runner up in the first year with a seriously impressive display, a less impressive and more erratic display in year two but won the championship nonetheless and a third year in a car that gave neither a hope of retaining the title. However, those similarities ended when Hamilton did not move to a useless team for year four and subsequently and unfortunately ruined his career.


Also they've both been beaten by Button.

#9 FenderJaguar

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 13:16

Jacques was really special once upon a time. He was great in Cart, won the Indy and when he arrived in F1 in 1996 he probably raised Hill's game as well. It was a breath of fresh air into F1 in my opinion. I think he had loads of talent but got a little bored as some of the people with talent do. That pass on the outside of Estoril in 1996 was pure art and something that the rest of the grid at that time wouldn't have thought of/pulled off.

Edited by FenderJaguar, 06 June 2012 - 13:18.


#10 TheBunk

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 13:20

I think Hamilton had a better rookie year than Villeneuve. Mainly because Alonso is a little better than Hill.


But regardless of teammates, what did you think of Jacques Villeneuves driving in 1996?

The comparisons between Hamilton and Villeneuves early careers are interesting. Runner up in the first year with a seriously impressive display, a less impressive and more erratic display in year two but won the championship nonetheless and a third year in a car that gave neither a hope of retaining the title. However, those similarities ended when Hamilton did not move to a useless team for year four and subsequently and unfortunately ruined his career.


:up: Absolutly agree. There are many similarities between them, until BAR came along.

#11 taran

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 13:47

But regardless of teammates, what did you think of Jacques Villeneuves driving in 1996?

:up: Absolutly agree. There are many similarities between them, until BAR came along.


You say that as if BAR forced him to drive their cars at gunpoint. Villeneuve willingly joined the new-born BAR team in the hope of doing a Schumacher and building his own team to cater to his own needs. And what everybody learned is that Jacques is no Michael.

Being a good driver is not enough. Villeneuve managed to get a championship winning car in his rookie year and made headlines. And in later years, he didn't have a quick car and looked ordinary. So was he a good driver? Or did he 'just' have some good cars?

In many ways, I think he was an enigma. He was pretty bad during his F3 years in Italy but did very well in CART and in a Williams. And again pretty average in the BAR's and Renault/Sauber. And since then, nobody has gone out of their way to sign him again in any category. I think he was great when fully motivated and assisted by the right engineering support. Without either, he was just so-so.

Compared with Hamilton, Hamilton so far seems to realize he needs a great team/car to remain a great. That makes him smarter than Villeneuve in my book.

Edited by taran, 06 June 2012 - 13:49.


#12 Alexis*27

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 13:49

I think Villeneuve just ended up in the wrong era. He was great in the 96 and 97 wide slick cars, but seemed to suffer in the twitchy narrow tyred era.

I would have loved to have seen him in the late 80s against other ballsy drivers like Senna.

#13 RobertoLarcos

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 13:54

Jacques Villeneuve was superb in 1996. Everyone remembers his pass on Schumacher in Estoril, but I particularly loved his ballsy pass on Damon Hill in Melbourne - what a way to arrive in F1! Getting pole at Spa and Suzuka was very impressive.

However, I thought he made hard work of what should have been a routine championship in 1997. I can't remember any other driver making as many mistakes in his title-winning season as Jacques did.

Lewis Hamilton's 2008 season was better IMO, because I don't think he made as many mistakes and his McLaren wasn't as dominant as Villeneuve's Williams.

I really enjoyed watching Villeneuve race - he was superb at overtaking. If only he hadn't gone to BAR...

#14 Disgrace

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 13:56

You say that as if BAR forced him to drive their cars at gunpoint. Villeneuve willingly joined the new-born BAR team in the hope of doing a Schumacher and building his own team to cater to his own needs. And what everybody learned is that Jacques is no Michael.

Being a good driver is not enough. Villeneuve managed to get a championship winning car in his rookie year and made headlines. And in later years, he didn't have a quick car and looked ordinary. So was he a good driver? Or did he 'just' have some good cars?

In many ways, I think he was an enigma. He was pretty bad during his F3 years in Italy but did very well in CART and in a Williams. And again pretty average in the BAR's and Renault/Sauber. And since then, nobody has gone out of their way to sign him again in any category. I think he was great when fully motivated and assisted by the right engineering support. Without either, he was just so-so.

Compared with Hamilton, Hamilton so far seems to realize he needs a great team/car to remain a great. That makes him smarter than Villeneuve in my book.


Your bolded part is an unfair generalisation. Jacques was great for large parts of 1999 and 2000. Drives like Barcelona '99, Monza '00 and Indy '00 showed that he still had it.

From 2001 onwards, it's probably a more fair assessment but he did get two podiums albeit in races of heavy attrition in '01.

Nobody could have done anything with the '02 piece of crap, and it was only in '03 he really snookered himself by slagging off Button pre-season, and kept digging himself into a hole of pressure and attention.

I would say that if he was Hakkinens team-mate at McLaren for example, as per the silly season at the time, '98 to '00 could have been some legendary years.

Edited by Disgrace, 06 June 2012 - 14:00.


#15 TheBunk

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 13:58

Jacques Villeneuve was superb in 1996. Everyone remembers his pass on Schumacher in Estoril, but I particularly loved his ballsy pass on Damon Hill in Melbourne - what a way to arrive in F1! Getting pole at Spa and Suzuka was very impressive.

However, I thought he made hard work of what should have been a routine championship in 1997. I can't remember any other driver making as many mistakes in his title-winning season as Jacques did.

Lewis Hamilton's 2008 season was better IMO, because I don't think he made as many mistakes and his McLaren wasn't as dominant as Villeneuve's Williams.

I really enjoyed watching Villeneuve race - he was superb at overtaking. If only he hadn't gone to BAR...


This move?

edit: did it again at Jerez 1997:



That estoril move:



Going sideways through Eau rouge in 2005:



His pole lap of Suzuka 1996:






Edited by TheBunk, 06 June 2012 - 14:04.


#16 HaydenFan

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 14:10

I think Hamilton had a better rookie year than Villeneuve. Mainly because Alonso is a little better than Hill.


I don't know about the first part. Outside 2 retirement early in the season, JV's season wasn't much different that Hamilton's. Jacques also won in his 4th GP, whereas Hamilton took 6 GP's to score a win. Villeneuve's first career race started with a pole and runner-up (w/ Fast Lap) to his teammates by 38 seconds, whereas Lewis' first race started with a 4th and ended up 3rd, 18s. behind; 11s behind his teammate.

Lewis' first bad race was the wet EuroGP at Nürburgring, Round 10 on the year, infamous for his being placed back on the track by the tractor lift whereas Speed was left in the gravel. JV's first bad race was the 5th race of the year at Imola, where a puncture from Alesi's car cause his to struggle for the rest of the race, before retiring.

The second part is what makes Lewis' rookies season look better. Beating your 2 time defending champion teammate is a big deal. But I will argue (mostly for the sake of argument), that it is not as big of a deal because Alonso was also new to McLaren. Hill was in his 4 season with Williams and was undeniably the lead driver of the team. McLaren, that year, almost from the start was attempting to give their drivers equal footing. Hamilton, IMO, had control of that team from day 1. And that conflict made for great television, it hurt the potential of what was the best car on the grid that year.

#17 RobertoLarcos

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 14:17

This move?


:up:

He just drove past Damon as if he wasn't even there :lol:

I just remembered his stellar performance at Hockenheim 1998 - he came so close to winning in the underpowered Williams.

I'm in Montreal this week so I'm feeling properly nostalgic about Jacques!




#18 MrAerodynamicist

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 14:18

Your bolded part is an unfair generalisation. Jacques was great for large parts of 1999 and 2000. Drives like Barcelona '99, Monza '00 and Indy '00 showed that he still had it.

One of his greatest drives was Hockenheim '98 and nobody ever remembers it.

edit: except the post above!

Edited by MrAerodynamicist, 06 June 2012 - 14:19.


#19 Disgrace

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 14:36

One of his greatest drives was Hockenheim '98 and nobody ever remembers it.

edit: except the post above!


Yeah, in particular on a circuit he hadn't previously shined on. Such a shame that something on the car broke. I did recall it, but I was mentioning BAR drives.

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#20 sofarapartguy

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 14:38

Great tread! But please, let's not turn it into another "Hamilton is better/best".

I didn't see JV drive in 96-97, started watching only from 1999 but still liked his kind of person a lot. And had even more respect when read about him visiting Panis in the hospital in 1997 after Canada crash - he was the only driver from the grid (IIRC) who did so.

But still think, he was too "flat out" type of driver, making sometimes silly mistakes. A more intelligent version of JPM.

#21 lustigson

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 14:48

I've always thought of Jacques Villeneuve's F1 career going backwards through time, as in, starting out with midfield teams Sauber and BAR, moving up to championship-winning outfit Williams, winning the title for them, and ending his career as runner-up to his team-mate. Not bad.

#22 cheesy poofs

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 15:06

Unlike today's F1 rookies, Villeneuve benefited from lots of testing before his first GP. Definitely helped him to know the car better. As much as he showed character on and off the track, I wished he would had showed that same character in getting rid of Craig Pollock way earlier in his career. Then who knows what might have happened...



#23 PNSD

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 15:09

For me Jacques Villeneuve was F1 best driver from 1996 to 2001. Or at least on par with Schumacher and Mika

Forget his rookie year, forget the championship, it's all about what he did when he DIDN'T have the car!

How can anyone who call's themselves an F1 fan forget the monumental qualifying efforts he made in 1999 in what was a god awful car?! He put that car places it never belonged!

I like Lewis a great deal but if you are comparing the two I have to give it to Jacques.

Do not for one second believe he stayed at BAR due to money! He was offered better drives with as much money, but after the 2000 season, would you really bet against BAR coming good? They were awesome that year and it was a project with a friend!

It was only after 2001 when he really did look to be another driver. The only time the real Jacques came out to play was when he had a chance at some fun, ala keeping Schumacher behind him at Silverstone in 2003. Contrast that with the way Button couldn't get out of Schumachers way quick enough and seemingly painted a red carpet for Schumi to pass =/.

Jacques is simply a driving legend. A lot of people mention Gilles, but he is often sensationalised by Dijon. For me if you even want to mention Gilles in a list of top 15 drivers of all time, you simply can not exclude his world champion, Indy 500 winner son. Jacques owns...

/thread.

edit - /thread should be after that Estroil move. How could I forget that?!!

Edited by PNSD, 06 June 2012 - 15:13.


#24 TheBunk

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 15:15

Jacques Villeneuve was superb in 1996. Everyone remembers his pass on Schumacher in Estoril, but I particularly loved his ballsy pass on Damon Hill in Melbourne - what a way to arrive in F1! Getting pole at Spa and Suzuka was very impressive.

However, I thought he made hard work of what should have been a routine championship in 1997. I can't remember any other driver making as many mistakes in his title-winning season as Jacques did.

Lewis Hamilton's 2008 season was better IMO, because I don't think he made as many mistakes and his McLaren wasn't as dominant as Villeneuve's Williams.


Really? I counted 5 retirements for Jacques, 2 of wich werent his fault, and maybe France and Spa werent his best races = 5 bad GPs. The rest he was on it and scored 7 wins, 4 consecutive and 10 total poles during the season. Thats not bad at all.

Its certainly a bit better than or at least similar to Hamiltons 2008 season, where Lewis made mistakes at Bahrain, Canada, France, Spa(debatable), Italy, Japan, and not one retirement from mechanical trouble.

I think both Lewis and Jacques had very similar first two years, and Jacques certainly wasnt any worse than the guy BBC puts in P15 in the top 20 best drivers ever. :)

Edited by TheBunk, 06 June 2012 - 23:01.


#25 PapaD

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 15:34

I echo what was said before about him being a breath of fresh air in 1996. Hill and Schumacher were (and are) not renowned for their personalities but Villeneuve came in, ruffled some feathers and pulled some great moves off. Despite me preferring Hill, I always remember the sad sight of Jaques being overtaken by his own wheel at Suzuka, ending the rookie championship bid.

Williams did have the best car in 96 and 97 though, which helped him a lot. As for going to BAR, it seemed at the time that he was after money as Williams are not renowned for their pay. But maybe he recognised that Williams had reached their last high point and that they were finished as a championship winning team. If so, some foresight, although I don't believe it.

#26 aditya-now

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 15:51

Anyway just found this - some great racing, shame about how the outcome was achieved.


To me still the best first race of any rookie in F1. :up:

Incredible by any account, and who knows if the engine would have held up - sad he did not win it.

#27 Pikachu Racing

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 16:29

How can anyone who call's themselves an F1 fan forget the monumental qualifying efforts he made in 1999 in what was a god awful car?! He put that car places it never belonged!


Thank you for mentioning the special 1999 moment. One of big injustice of that season was JV finishing 0 points. If the car ever held up at the end of the race he would have gotten points. He would have plenty of good runs in qualifying and race day but mechanical troubles would take him out. You saw glimpse what could have been in the future. It was after 2002 where he was "old news"

#28 CSquared

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 16:31

You say that as if BAR forced him to drive their cars at gunpoint. Villeneuve willingly joined the new-born BAR team in the hope of doing a Schumacher and building his own team to cater to his own needs. And what everybody learned is that Jacques is no Michael.

Or maybe that BAR is no Ferrari.

#29 KavB

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 16:38

Eleven victories is what some drivers can only dream of achieving. To do that in just two seasons is very impressive. It's a shame his career slided afterwards. He may not be the best world champion, but he was still a champion and could have won more races if he didn't make such bad decisions. He is generally thought of as the worst world champion because his 1997 season wasn't perfect but don't forget he was still only in his 2nd season. Look at Button, he was awful in 2001 but he has improved a lot.

If he was driving at his 2000ish form, he would have eased to the title in 1997.

#30 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 16:48

I always had a soft spot for Villeneuve, and thought him capable of more than he achieved after Williams.

Looking back I think that he was one of the drivers who did not take F1 seriously enough, not as in not taking it seriously, but more trying to live of his undoubted talent, and not applying all the hard work needed to actually achieve what his talent could have given him, sort of how I look at Montoya and his career.

Both of them had undoubted talent, but their careers did not become quite what we expected. Villeneuve doubtless wanted to do good, but my feeling is that he wanted it to come to him, more than he strived to get there. How Montoya can see Nascar as more interesting and better than his F1 career is beyond me, fumbling around not getting the results yes being paid a very large retainer, but there should be more.

Villeneuve and Montoya are two drivers who could have done more and better, but who did not hold the burning desire and want needed.

:cool:

#31 Ferrari_F1_fan_2001

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 17:03

Hamilton was groomed for F1 at an early age. Had vast experience of single seaters in Europe etc.

JV on the other hand came from CART and set the world on fire much like Montoya did.

#32 BRG

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 17:04

Yes Villeneuve was the most impressive rookie ever in F1.

That title belongs to Giancarlo Baghetti, who won his first three championship F1 Grand Prixs, a record that will, I am confident in predicting, never be bettered.

#33 Slowinfastout

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 17:07

I think the perception that he isn't a hard-worker is partly down to the fact that BAR was a complete mess.. you might say he contributed to that but as a driver he might have reverted to only driving the car in the later BAR years, after realizing what a joke it was.

JV drove for highly professional teams, of course Williams (where famously the driver is just a disposable tool no matter the results), but even in CART and Atlantics (at least compared to the rest of the field), and then he found himself at BAR which was really a bunch of people on ego trips each pulling on their own direction, complimented by the Honda people which were different kind of people altogether but certainly weren't working in harmony with the BAR management and Brackley.

#34 lustigson

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 17:32

Hamilton was groomed for F1 at an early age. Had vast experience of single seaters in Europe etc.

True, but Villeneuve, on the other hand, did, what, 45,000 km of testing prior to his debut?

#35 P123

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 17:45

Hamilton was groomed for F1 at an early age. Had vast experience of single seaters in Europe etc.

JV on the other hand came from CART and set the world on fire much like Montoya did.


JV did spend many years in European F3 racing, but only stood out once he went to the US and raced in CART. JPM didn't so much come from CART- he was loaned to Ganassi from Williams after coming through the junior series in the UK and then spending two years in F3000- runner up in '97, winner in '98.

#36 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 17:48

Yeah, it's not like Montoya and Villeneuve were racing touring cars the entire time.

#37 P123

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 17:49

Villeneuve and Montoya are two drivers who could have done more and better, but who did not hold the burning desire and want needed.

:cool:


True, but they were entertaining to watch.

#38 blackonyx4

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 17:51

You say that as if BAR forced him to drive their cars at gunpoint. Villeneuve willingly joined the new-born BAR team in the hope of doing a Schumacher and building his own team to cater to his own needs. And what everybody learned is that Jacques is no Michael.



So you are saying that Schumacher turned around race winning team from 1995 into a race winning team of 1996 and later.

JV jumped into the worst team after 1998 and that team in only their 2nd season was regular point scorer. In my book, that was quite an accomplishment.

#39 gricey1981

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 17:59

Yeah he was cart champion too the season before.

I liked Villeneuve too. Shame BAR didnt do as well as expected.

Hill did beat by what 20 points though in his rookie year



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#40 TheBunk

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 18:13

Hill did beat by what 20 points though in his rookie year


8 points difference in the last race. Villeneuve qualified on pole, messed up his start, and while Hill was leading, retired. 'And now i have a lump in my throat' said Murray Walker.

#41 E.B.

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 18:13

That title belongs to Giancarlo Baghetti, who won his first three championship F1 Grand Prixs, a record that will, I am confident in predicting, never be bettered.


Fixed.


#42 jonpollak

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 18:18

....And what everybody learned is that Jacques is no Michael.


And were you to be a student of ethics...
You would realise this is a GOOD thing.

Jp

#43 Bimmer

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 18:41

In my opinion, Villeneuve will always be the best driver. Unfornately he spend most of his career in slow cars (BAR), but his driving was really spectacular - I was big fan of him.

#44 gricey1981

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 20:09

8 points difference in the last race. Villeneuve qualified on pole, messed up his start, and while Hill was leading, retired. 'And now i have a lump in my throat' said Murray Walker.


so 18 points then.

#45 sniper80

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 20:29

Villeneuve was wrong joining Bar, but to be honest, that team was more on speed than the 3 teams that have entered F1 three years ago!

#46 Les

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 22:27

What a shame he killed his career with the BAR move. Indeed maybe it comes down to desire as well but I think he would have been much more highly thought of if he didn't move... then again Williams were on a downward spiral and where else would have he went?



#47 PorcupineTroy

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 22:55

His 2000 campaign was really very good. Canada that year was a heartbreak :( .

Good to see the footage of him vs. Hill in his first ever grand prix at Oz. I didn't realize there was only a few laps remaining when Villeneuve gave up the lead.

#48 Juggles

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 23:47

So, do you then also include Jacques Villeneuve automatically in the top 20 because of his 1996 season?


Not by any stretch of the imagination.

1. Hamilton was facing an Alonso coming off the back of two world championships, the undisputed top dog in F1 after Schumacher's retirement. Despite that, he outqualified him 10 times to 7. Villeneuve was facing a Hill who was going for his first world championship (with all the associated pressure); Hill outqualified Villeneuve 13 times to 3. The qualifying records are worlds apart. I would like to go into races as well but right now I don't have time to calculate which races should be discounted for circumstances beyond driver control. Just on the basis of statistics, Alonso beat Hamilton 10-7 and Hill beat Villeneuve 8-7 (in one race both retired) but I'd like to go deeper.

2. Does anyone believe that Hill, as likeable as he was, should be put in the same league as Alonso?

3. Hamilton finished one point off the championship in an inferior McLaren, Villeneuve finished 19 points off the championship in the dominant Williams.

And most importantly, 4. Villeneuve lost to his 0 time WDC teammate. Hamilton beat his 2 time WDC teammate.

#49 PoleMan

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 00:19

Bunk, BIG UPS to you for starting this thread! :up: :up: :up:

JV was an amazing driver from his CART days, to Williams & BAR in F1, to Le Mans. People may forget, but when Trulli was tossed in 2004 and Jacques was dropped in with just 1 test session (believe that's correct) for Renault, it took him until just the 2nd race to outqualify Fernando. And in the season finale in Brazil, his fastest race lap was less than a tenth off Alonso. Just 3 races, and he was coming to grips with a new car after being off for the whole season.

JV was special, alright! So nice to read so many comments that give him his due. :clap: It was Jacques' entry into F1 that finally restored my passion for the sport after being gutted by the loss of Senna.

I hope he can find his way back into a regular ride, because there is nothing that boy can't drive fast...while entertaining us all as well. But even if he can't, he's still had a brilliant, Hall-of Fame career! :cool:

Edit* The video in this link typifies JV's "on the edge" style from Formula Atlantic to Champ Cars to F1. As you'll see it didn't always work out, but was always exciting to watch!


Edited by PoleMan, 07 June 2012 - 01:06.


#50 Con1

Con1
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Posted 07 June 2012 - 00:25

Not by any stretch of the imagination.

1. Hamilton was facing an Alonso coming off the back of two world championships, the undisputed top dog in F1 after Schumacher's retirement. Despite that, he outqualified him 10 times to 7. Villeneuve was facing a Hill who was going for his first world championship (with all the associated pressure); Hill outqualified Villeneuve 13 times to 3. The qualifying records are worlds apart. I would like to go into races as well but right now I don't have time to calculate which races should be discounted for circumstances beyond driver control. Just on the basis of statistics, Alonso beat Hamilton 10-7 and Hill beat Villeneuve 8-7 (in one race both retired) but I'd like to go deeper.

2. Does anyone believe that Hill, as likeable as he was, should be put in the same league as Alonso?

3. Hamilton finished one point off the championship in an inferior McLaren, Villeneuve finished 19 points off the championship in the dominant Williams.

And most importantly, 4. Villeneuve lost to his 0 time WDC teammate. Hamilton beat his 2 time WDC teammate.

:up:

Strange thing is that had Schumi not driven in to Hill (sorry accidently, entirely unintentionally) spun in to him after his crash, Hill would have been a two time champion and might have made the list.

I don't think Villeneuve deserves to be mentioned in the same bracket as Hamilton. He was up against two WDC in Schumi and Hill. Hamilton is competing against 5 other champions.