Max Verstappen is “not as aggressive” with Lewis Hamilton as Nico Rosberg: Jacques Villeneuve

Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve reckons Max Verstappen is not as aggressive to rival Lewis Hamilton as Nico Rosberg was.

For three seasons in the mid-2010s, the Hamilton-Rosberg rivalry lit up Formula 1. It was entertaining, it was controversial, and it was aggressive. Nearly five years later, we are seeing a new rivalry. On one side is the now seven-time champion Hamilton. On the other side is Dutch talent Max Verstappen.

With fans likening this rivalry to the Hamilton versus Rosberg one, Villeneuve disagrees. He says it is unreasonable to compare the two. In an interview with Motorsport Magazin, Villeneuve weighed in on the topic.

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Villeneuve says Max Verstappen (left) isn’t as aggressive to Lewis Hamilton (right) as Nico Rosberg was. Source:

“Lewis has done the same thing with Nico in the past. Aside from the fact that he always did it to the point where people would have thought he was doing it on purpose,” he said.

“That was the little difference between him and Nico back then. It was obvious with Nico, not with Lewis. Now that’s what Max is expected. That’s why you see it that way because you expect it.”

Villeneuve said that with Hamilton and Verstappen, there has been respect, and neither driver has exceeded his limit.

“Lewis is pretty good, but he usually keeps it clean. He’s going right to the limit. It looks relaxed, but it isn’t. You’re both very good at it,” Villeneuve said.

Pressure mounting

When the Monaco Grand Prix concluded, Verstappen found himself ahead of Hamilton for the first time in his career. The Red Bull driver won the race, while Hamilton could only salvage a P7.

Therein lies the problem. With Hamilton playing catch-up, he might turn the aggression up to leapfrog Verstappen. So no one can say their clean rivalry and shared respect will remain throughout the season. A single decision could completely change the nature of the rivalry.

While it is not as intense and dramatic as the one five years ago, it has the potential to be. Will we see tempers flare at some point this season? Let’s wait and see.

Read more: “For me, it was expected”: Hamilton reveals how he knew about Rosberg retirement well in advance

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