Verstappen started on pole position ahead of Leclerc for Saturday’s sprint race and robustly defended against the Ferrari driver to maintain position at the start.
The triple world champion moved aggressively to cover the inside line, almost pushing Leclerc off the track in the process as he retained the lead at Turn 1.
1997 world champion Villeneuve described Verstappen’s defence as being “too much” and felt it should have been looked at by the Austin stewards.
“Leclerc was pushed off the track, it’s too much,” he told F1 TV. “It wasn’t necessary.
“I don’t understand why the first lap should be evaluated differently, a dirty manoeuvre or pushing a car to the limits of the track are things that should be investigated.”
However, Leclerc insisted he had no complaints over Verstappen’s defending and said he “would have done exactly the same” if things were the other way around.
“To be honest, I would have done exactly the same if I was in his position,” the Monegasque said.
“It’s on the limit, but as I’ve always said in the past, that’s the way I like to fight. So this today didn’t play in my way, but that’s fine. It’s part of racing and I’m happy with it.”