Villeneuve: Verstappen must be self-critical
8 December 2016 – World Champion Jacques Villeneuve says that Red Bull youngster Max Verstappen must be self-critical if he is to fulfil his potential as a Formula 1 driver, following another eye-catching season in the sport.
Verstappen stepped up to Red Bull at the Spanish Grand Prix, winning on his debut for the team, and added six more podiums, including a stunning recovery from 16th to third in the rain in Brazil.
But the 19-year-old also faced criticism for his aggressive approach, particularly when defending from rivals, which led to a "gentle warning" from the FIA and a rule clarification being issued.
Villeneuve, who won his championship with Williams in 1997, hopes Verstappen will use the experiences to his advantage in the future, and ultimately reach his "amazing" potential.
"There have been many, many amazing drivers at the beginning, but you have to see how these drivers evolve," Villeneuve told GPUpdate.net, on the subject of Verstappen's progress.
"He's had some amazing races [in 2016]. Spain was great. Brazil was great, because he knows how to drive in the wet. What was surprising was how nobody else understood how to drive in the wet.
"But he was very lucky, because he almost put it in the wall. It's like throwing the dice. You put it in the wall at that moment and you're an idiot like everybody else, you don't and you're a hero.
"If he's capable of learning, of being self-taught, then he'll be amazing.
"It only depends on that. Is he able to go back and think, 'OK, I was good there, but I was wrong there'? If it's only, 'I was good, I was good, I was good', there will never be improvement."
Villeneuve also defended previous comments he made about Verstappen.
"It depends whether the whole comment is being listened to and thought about. If it's just seen as a negative comment people get angry, and that's often what happens," he said.
"You cannot be neutral with Max, which is great, as it means he'll have a huge image. Sometimes it will be positive, sometimes it will be negative, but that is really helpful for a career.
"The potential is there and we will just see how he evolves."