Jacques is a bit like Kimi. Both were amazing in their prime, but their prime was short lived. After that they were/are just plodding around.
I would definitely not put them in line with the likes of Hamilton, Senna, Schumacher, Prost and Alonso. So world class, in general terms of course. Among the f1 top echelon? Nah, I don’t think so.
I would slot Vettel in between these two groups.
It’s a pity we did not see Villeneuve racing in any other top team again, but somehow I think he would lose to Häkkinen in 1998 if they were paired. Even though I personally like Jacques more.
Still, both are very good drivers and fantastic
Now this post I can get behind. Well said. Well balanced.
In closing - Jacques is an open wheel great. That is beyond dispute. An F1 great however? No. He's a World Champion yes but he's not with the 5 GOATS you mentioned to begin with. Not many are.
Jacques is well and truly amongst the Raikkonens, Buttons, Montoyas and Rosbergs (Keke and Nico) of the world. And that is some fine company. His impact on his arrival in F1 has rarely been matched and, at a time F1 was still reeling from Sennas death and lacking in star power, Jacques Villeneuve was the perfect tonic. In the mid to late 90s he, along with Schumacher and Colin McRae, were the biggest superstars in motorsport.
We focus so much on the "GOATS" of F1 and the winning machines that break all the records. Which is fine of course - but some of these one and two time World Champions have a real charm about them. Kimi Raikkonen epitomizes that imo.