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Villeneuve: Kubica merits 2008 F1 crown the most.

BMW-Sauber star Robert Kubica is the most deserving of the three contenders for this year's Formula 1 World Championship – that is the view of Jacques Villeneuve, who claimed the crown for Williams-Renault back in 1997.

Whilst McLaren-Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton enters the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai this weekend feasibly in a position to sew the title up before the Interlagos finale a fortnight later, and Ferrari ace Felipe Massa remains the man most likely to stop him, Kubica has quietly kept himself in the hunt season-long by dint of his remarkable consistency and the ability to invariably extract every last ounce of performance out of his car – whilst his two fellow challengers have appeared increasingly prone to slip up on banana skins.

“The one who really deserves it now is Kubica,” Villeneuve contended in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast, effusive in his praise for the driver who – ironically – forced him out of the top flight in mid-2006. “He has not been in as good a car as either Felipe or Lewis, yet he has produced a season without mistakes.

“Both Hamilton and Massa have been making mistakes towards the end of the season that have let Kubica come back, which has made it more exciting for everyone because three guys can win it, and we thought there could only be two.”

Indeed, arguably the costliest of Hamilton's mistakes this year was the one that saw him leave his braking dangerously late into the first corner of last weekend's Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji – sending his rivals scattering wide in his wake and setting off the chain reaction of events that would see Massa cut his lead at the top of the standings from seven points to five with 20 remaining up for grabs.

That, combined with the 23-year-old's reputation for cracking under pressure earned by having conceded a 17-point advantage in the closing stages of the 2007 battle to ultimately miss out on the laurels by a single point, means Hamilton is seen as being particularly vulnerable as the 2008 showdown closes in. Though he continues to lead, the Stevenage-born ace has not now triumphed since the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim seven races ago.

“Hamilton is extremely fast, there's no doubt about that,” Villeneuve acknowledged. “A lot will depend on whether he wins the championship this year or not, because last year he had it in his hands and threw it away at the end of the season. This year he's got it in his hands with two races to go, so we'll see how it pans out.

“He's been thrown in very young and been told for many years that he's the best in the world. At some point you end up believing that, and I guess that happens to most drivers at some point in their careers.”

The French-Canadian – who has competed in both NASCAR and sportscars since quitting F1, including making his debut in the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours endurance classic last year – also defended Massa's clash with Hamilton at Fuji, even if he does reckon the stewards have been overly harsh on the McLaren ace as the season has worn on.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
30.06.2006 Indianapolis, USA, Jacques Villeneuve (CDN), BMW Sauber F1 Team - Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 10, United States Grand Prix, Friday
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The race stopped, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The Safety car and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
25.06.2017 - Race, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C36
25.06.2017 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.06.2017 - Race, 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H

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Marcus - Unregistered

October 17, 2008 1:42 PM

I have to agree. Kimi lost points in australia, monaco, spa, singapore and so on. Massa crashed in the first two races and had a horrible race at silverstone. Hamilton has made a ton of stupid mistakes and gotten penalized for them. I think monaco is the real "why kubica deserves the title" race. Hamilton punctured his tyre when he hit the wall. Massa ran wide when he was leading the race. Kimi ran wide and crashed with Sutil. Kubica did nothing wrong. Alonso won his titles with 133 and 134 points for a season. Kimi won last year with 110 points. Hamilton is at 84 so even with 2 wins, this will be the lowest amount of points for a champion in a while.

Jim - Unregistered

October 17, 2008 12:20 PM

to be fair, although he has only one win under his belt, for him to be in this position after the 15th race just shows how consistant and fast he has been over the season! and with LH and FM to only be 12 and 7 points ahead of him, I think deserves it just as much, and maybe more as he has kept himself out of trouble and really driven himself into this position! Vettel for the WDC!!! :p

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