Your description doesn't really justify your conclusion. You've made them sound fairly similar and then said that 1997 was in another class to 1999.
But also Villeneuve threw away the lead at Brazil but was lucky that the race was restarted. The fact that it was Villeneuve's second year also doesn't change anything in objective terms as to how good the season was. Plus he'd been in IndyCar - another top level series - and not making mistakes is a transferrable skill. If you're a mature driver at the top and you go to a new series, you might need to learn things about the cars, but learning not to throw away races is not something you need to learn anew.
So the only real difference you mention is that Villeneuve had to beat Schumacher and Hakkinen only had to beat Irvine. But in terms of racking up points, it often doesn't matter who the opposition is. Irvine was close because he had better reliability. He wasn't close on the track. Hakkinen was 8 points ahead of Schumacher anyway when Schumacher had his accident and they'd both thrown away one lead each. Hakkinen only made one major mistake after that so if Schumacher didn't have the accident and won the championship, Hakkinen's bad luck (which is often overlooked) would have been a bigger factor than the two mistakes.
Sure I made them sound similar in terms of stats and mistakes (though Jacques never threw away a race he was leading comfortably in the two seasons he had a winning car, Brazil 1997 start he and Schumacher were battling into the first corner. Not the same thing) but the context between 1997 and 1999 is vastly different. Or perhaps more to the point, you put zero emphasis on that, whilst I put quite alot of emphasis on it. Things like levels of F1 experience, opponents, competitiveness of other teams, the quality of their car relative to the opposition for the whole season... then things like stats, mistakes etc come into it.
You say coming from IndyCar shouldn't have mattered a thing, being another high level series like F1 and that being only his second F1 season is irrelevant. Ok.
How many drivers in history have come from US open wheel racing to F1 (not the other way around), with little or no previous experience in European racing and succeeded in winning races and becoming F1 World Champion?
If it's simply transferrable skills and the differences between the two disciplines are irrelevant, I'd expect the list to be long...
Edited by PlayboyRacer, 23 January 2019 - 12:55.