Not content with criticising the current state of affairs in F1 [see separate story – click here
], Jacques Villeneuve has now claimed that Sebastian Vettel is not quite the world-beater his dominant form suggests he is – reasoning that 'anytime [he] has to fight someone, he collapses'.
Last week, F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone – a self-confessed fan of Vettel, the sport's youngest-ever world champion – contended that 'the competition Sebastian is facing is much bigger than that confronted by Michael [Schumacher]', thereby making the Red Bull Racing star's success and current 77-point advantage in the title standings 'even more noteworthy' [see separate story – click here
In evidence of that assertion, there are no fewer than five world champions on the F1 2011 grid – but whilst conceding that it will take a minor miracle now for any of his rivals to prevent Vettel from making it back-to-back drivers' crowns this year, former Williams star Villeneuve scoffs at the notion that the German is a class apart in terms of talent and ability, arguing that were he to be put more regularly under pressure as was the case in Canada with Jenson Button, he would crack rather more often.
“Vettel is fighting no-one right now,” the French-Canadian told Reuters
. “If you look at it, anytime Vettel has to fight someone, he collapses – look at Montreal. [Red Bull team-mate] Mark [Webber] has collapsed and the whole team has taken a step forward, so he's in a world of his own.
“He's super-fast; he's faster and stronger than he was last year and when you are on a cloud like that, it's very hard for things to go wrong. Unless something really bad happens, I don't see how he could lose the championship this year. Maybe he could lose his marbles, I don't know.”