Lewis Hamilton told he has a weakness against ‘hallucinating’ Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen's dominance continued in Austria, as he comfortably won the race ahead of Charles Leclerc.

Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 Formula 1 World Champion, has stated that Lewis Hamilton has always lacked the consistency of “war machine” Max Verstappen, even during his peak with Mercedes. 

Verstappen secured his fifth consecutive victory at the Austrian Grand Prix, extending Red Bull’s winning streak to nine races in the 2023 season. He now holds an 80-point lead over his teammate, Sergio Perez, in the Drivers’ standings.

Verstappen’s latest triumph adds to his impressive record of 32 wins in the last 53 races since his championship-winning season in 2021. 

It was during that season that Verstappen controversially dethroned Hamilton in the infamous Abu Dhabi decider. 

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Meanwhile, Hamilton has not tasted victory since the penultimate round of the 2021 season, despite winning six titles in seven years with Mercedes during the V6 hybrid era.

In assessing Hamilton’s performance in the 2023 season, Villeneuve points out the inconsistency that has been a recurring theme throughout Hamilton’s career, contrasting it with Verstappen’s relentless consistency. 

Villeneuve describes Verstappen as “a war machine, a robot,” and states that Hamilton has never had a perfect year like Verstappen.

Villeneuve told La Gazzetta dello Sport, “He goes very up and down in performance, it depends on the weekends. 

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“But he’s always been like that, every season, even when he was winning. He’s never had a perfect year like Verstappen.”

When asked if he is amazed by Verstappen’s consistent level of performance, Villeneuve argues that only Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso can match the reigning World Champion’s intensity. 

He stated, “No, amazed, no. He always has an extraordinary energy, he never gives up. And he makes a difference. 

“Verstappen has always been like that, for years. 

“He’s at his best for the whole season. It’s hallucinating how he does it, maybe only Alonso was comparable. 

“If you look at most of the other drivers, they all have ups and downs, often with quite a bit of difference between them. 

“Not him. I really don’t know where he gets all that energy from. When he is like that, which is practically all the time, he is unbeatable.”

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The war of words between Verstappen and Hamilton resumed ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, with Hamilton expressing disbelief at the suggestion that Red Bull has already shifted their focus to developing their 2024 car. 

Verstappen mocked Hamilton’s proposal to regulate teams’ development of the following year’s car until a prescribed date, saying, “We weren’t talking about that when he was winning his championships, right? So I don’t think we should now.”

Hamilton also voiced his frustration over the “small” punishment imposed on Red Bull for breaching the 2021 cost cap, arguing that the £6.07 million fine and 10 percent reduction in aerodynamic research “didn’t cost them anything.”