Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas is the latest to feel the wrath of 1997 champion Jacques Villeneuve after the recent double-header in Azerbaijan and Canada.
Bottas had out-qualified Zhou Guanyu in all of the opening seven rounds of the season, out-performing him in every race bar one, when he retired from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix with a reliability failure.
The Finn had also finished in the points six times before Baku, with the Chinese rookie only managing that in Bahrain.
In the eighth round of the season though, Zhou managed to out-qualify Bottas for the second time this season, and was set to finish the race head had it not been for an engine failure that put him out of the race, as it had done two races prior in Barcelona.
The 23-year-old also better the former Mercedes driver for much of the weekend in Canada, making Q3 for the first time this season in 10th as Bottas was eliminated from Q2 in 11th.
A Safety Car helped the Finn climb ahead of his team-mate in the race as they both scored points in seventh and eighth, with Zhou finishing in the top 10 for the second time in 2022.
The recent change at Alfa Romeo might simply be put down by some to an excellent upturn in form by Zhou, who has now found his feet in the pinnacle of motorsport.
Villeneuve takes a less positive perspective, affirming that Bottas should not be losing out to his young team-mate.
“Zhou has never been on this track and he didn’t get much mileage either, so no, Bottas this year should never, ever get beaten by Zhou,” he told the F1 Nation Podcast after the Canadian Grand Prix.
“It’s just not on, not a driver of his experience that has won so many races.
“This should not happen, mostly on a track that Zhou has not been on.
“I don’t know if it’s because he got used to not beating Lewis [Hamilton] and that set him back a little bit, then he had an easy beginning of the year.
“He was looking good, running at the front, destroying Zhou, and suddenly, Zhou is showing that he is quick.
“We’re not seeing the best Valtteri that we could, or that we should, right now. He should be easily ahead of Zhou.”
Bottas continues to run eighth in the Drivers; Standings after nine rounds, eight positions and 41 points ahead of Zhou, who has now begun to show the exquisite Formula 2 talent that got him to F1.