JV: Keep Valtteri Bottas, Esteban Ocon is too big of a risk

Two years ago Jacques Villeneuve was not a fan of Valtteri Bottas, calling him an embarrassment; now he feels the Finn is Mercedes’ best option for 2020.

Back at the 2017 Brazilian GP, Villeneuve labelled Bottas’ performance “embarrassing” and said it was at the level of a “number two” driver after the Mercedes driver fell from pole to second while his team-mate Lewis Hamilton raced from the pitlane to P4.

A year later, with Mercedes having re-signed Bottas for 2019, the former World Champion proclaimed that Bottas would not see out the 2019 season with Mercedes, saying they will instead bring in Esteban Ocon.

Now, though, after two wins and a handful of runner-up results, Villeneuve is questioning why Mercedes would even consider dropping Bottas and putting Ocon in the car as Hamilton’s 2020 team-mate.

“Why would you do that?” the Canadian pondered to Dutch publication Formule 1.

“Of course Mercedes must continue with Bottas.

“How many times have they achieved P1 and P2 this season?

“If he were to be half a second slower every round than Lewis, like last year: OK, you can replace him.

“But that is not the case.”

The 48-year-old feels putting Ocon in the car after only two seasons with Racing Point, formerly known as Force India, would be a massive risk for Mercedes as they bid for what could be a seventh championship double.

“Why would you take Ocon?” JV added. “He has not yet proven himself.

“I don’t know exactly how good he is and would never take that risk.”

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