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Villeneuve refused to apologize for Lance Stroll criticism

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Jacques Villeneuve has refused to apologise for his harsh outspokenness about his countryman Lance Stroll’s performance in F1 this year.

Stroll, 18, had lashed out at the “negative” 1997 world champion, after Villeneuve described him as arguably the sport’s worst ever rookie.

“I was critical of him early in the season because of his results,” 46-year-old Villeneuve now tells Le Journal de Montreal. “It’s that simple.

“Why should I have praised him? My role is to report the facts, not to defend a driver.

“When you’re a second slower than your teammate, you cannot say it’s brilliant. Why would people be offended about that? It’s the truth,” Villeneuve insisted.

However, the 11-time GP winner acknowledged that Stroll’s most recent results have been better, including points in Montreal and a podium in Baku.

“Absolutely,” he said. “And I am the first to admit it.

“In Canada he was not very fast but he managed his race well. It took a lot of pressure off his shoulders.

“In Baku it was even better. There were problems in front of him but he kept his composure. That was in contrast to his early season, when he committed multiple mistakes.

“But it does not erase his bad results from before Montreal, so I don’t regret anything I said. Yes, it was pathetic at times,” Villeneuve added.

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