Jacques Villeneuve lambasted Max Verstappen as a “bad role model” after he ignored yellow flags in qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix.
Verstappen took pole position in Mexico City, but was stripped of P1 after admitting he had not slowed down when passing the stricken Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas on his final flying lap, which improved his time to a new circuit record.
A three-place grid penalty leaves Verstappen fighting from P4 as he looks to win in Mexico for the third year in a row, but the Dutchman’s stock took a significant hit, particularly over his blasé comments regarding the incident after the session.
“I think he’s a bad role model,” Villeneuve is quoted by Motorsport-Magazin.
“He was on pole, he did not think and that was not very clever.
“The driver should never be allowed to decide whether it’s safe or not, because there could be something else behind the corner that he does not know about.”
Villeneuve was also frustrated by the application of the regulation, which appeared to be handled in a confused manner by the FIA stewards.
It had initially appeared as though Verstappen would not face a penalty as he had not improved his time in the relevant mini-sector compared to his previous lap.
However, Verstappen’s admission that he had not lifted off seemed to prompt a further investigation and Villeneuve says greater clarity is required.
“The rules just require that you go off the throttle, but do not say how much,” says Villeneuve. “If he [Verstappen] was off the gas only a short time and then back on it, then maybe that’s enough.”