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Villeneuve rejects Lauda's comparison of Max to Gilles

Jacques Villeneuve (CDN).
© XPB 

Jacques Villeneuve has taken serious offence to Niki Lauda's comparison of Red Bull driver Max Verstappen to his own father Gilles.

Before last weekend's Canadian Grand Prix, Mercedes' non-executive chairman lashed out at Verstappen for being too accident-prone in recent races.

"I would ask him 'How many times do you want to do the same thing?'", Lauda had told the Bild newspaper. "It's a difficult balancing act and I know it's not easy."

Lauda then also compared the "hot headed" Verstappen with another fiery and formidable talent from the history of Formula 1, Gilles Villeneuve.

But if that was meant to be any sort of compliment to either party, then it backfired. Gilles' son, 1997 world champion Jacques, took serious offence at the comparison.

"I agree that Verstappen takes risks like my father did, but there is a big difference," Villenueve told Le Journal de Montreal.

"My father had respect for his opponents and learned from his mistakes," he insisted.

Villeneuve had labelled Verstappen "a child" after the Dutch driver threatened to "head butt" journalists who kept asking him questions about whether he would change his driving style to avoid making more mistakes in future.

"He had a completely different upbringing. Quite frankly I don't understand the comparison at all," Villeneuve complained.

"Verstappen makes mistakes in every race. It happens all the time," he added. "If a driver is constantly making mistakes, he must calm down and slow down."

Villeneuve went on to suggest that old rivalries played a part in Lauda's comparison between Verstappen and Gilles Villeneuve, who drove for Ferrari between 1977 and 1982.

"Maybe Lauda is still dealing with Ferrari's decision to replace him with my father," Villeneuve said.

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