Villeneuve claims Verstappen isn’t a ‘true champion’, but not because of Abu Dhabi controversy

Max Verstappen did suffer a spin last weekend in Canada, but it was not at the final chicane.

1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve has joked that Max Verstappen will not be a “true champion” until he is collected by the infamous wall of champions.

The tricky final chicane has caught out many a champion, including Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Villeneuve himself.

Button was the only one of those drivers not to have won a title before his collision, and many others have found themselves falling foul of the ominous wall on the exit of Turn 14.

READ: Verstappen grateful for straight-line speed advantage after fending off Sainz to Canadian GP victory

Verstappen has not found it yet, but it seems to be a wall of passage for a world champion to collide with the aptly named wall.

“You are only a true champion if you hit that wall,” quipped Villeneuve.

“I mean, I started it – hit it twice – Michael did it, Damon hit it, Jenson hit it as well. I don’t think Max hit it – he needs to hit the wall first.”

Verstappen started the Canadian Grand Prix from pole on Sunday, and went on to withstand heavy pressure from Carlos Sainz in the final laps following a Safety Car caused by a crash for Yuki Tsunoda.

The Dutchman was enthused by the battle, after which he came out on top as he took 25 points from Montreal.

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“The Safety Car didn’t help,” said Verstappen after the race.

“I think overall, they were very quick in the race, so it would have been very tough for me to close that gap to the end, even on fresher tyres.

“But yeah, it was really exciting at the end, I was giving it everything I had, of course Carlos was doing the same.

“Following is tricky around here but I could see he was pushing, charging, pushing but of course actually when you’re under DRS, it’s a bit easier to charge.

“The last few laps were a lot of fun, luckily this year we seem pretty quick on the straights so that helps a lot.”

Verstappen now leads team-mate Sergio Perez by 46 points in the Drivers’ Standings after the Mexican retired from the race with a gearbox issue having started 13th due to his qualifying crash.