Referring to Hamilton’s starts he said:
“When will these chopping moves stop? Lewis is not getting penalised for these things and his behaviour off the start line has started to look the way Michael Schumacher used to. So far, he has been lucky, so we’ll see if it carries on. He makes progressive moves that would have got some of the other drivers black-flagged.
I’d be the first to say that F1 is poorer for losing outspoken drivers like ’97 champ Villeneuve, but I think he’s well wide of the mark on this one.
Hamilton made excellent attacking starts in Melbourne and Sepang, picking up places when there didn’t seem to be any available. At Bahrain and Monte-Carlo he defended his position at the start but I never for once second thought there was anything unusual about his defence.
Schumacher famously was never penalised for a serier of start line ‘chops’ that riled his rivals like Villeneuve and David Coulthard. But when one driver does something and gets away with in, smart drivers realise it’s fair game and add the move to their arsenal.
That said, nothing Hamilton has done so far reminds me of Schumacher’s tactics in any way. He’s not pulled the kind of stunt Schumacher turned on brother Ralf at the start of the 2001 European race, for example.
Perhaps Villeneuve’s just sore that he doesn’t get to race in his home Grand Prix this year.