He said he has noticed an increasingly strong Raikkonen at Ferrari in recent years.
“He has become a great personality,” Villeneuve told Iltalehti newspaper. “He doesn’t care about anyone and just lives his own life.”
And that personal development extends to 38-year-old Raikkonen’s recent driving, the French Canadian added.
“Kimi is getting stronger every year,” he said. “Even here. He was fast from Friday practice and more comfortable than Sebastian. That means the car works for him.
“This could be his year,” added Villeneuve.
Ferrari official Piero Ferrari agrees, telling La Gazzetta dello Sport: “With a good car, he easily finds the limit and it’s a pleasure to watch him drive.
“But if he doesn’t feel the car properly, then it’s difficult for him.”
However, given the political situation at Ferrari, Villeneuve says it is crucial for Raikkonen to get a good early start in 2018.
“He has to take his first win right at the start of the season, otherwise the energy will tilt towards Sebastian,” he said.