Hill feels Villeneuve pressure

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Motor Racing

Jacques Villeneuve, the son of the former Canadian Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve, climbed into a Williams for the first time at Silverstone yesterday, and produced a startlingly impressive first performance that can only add to the pressure on Britain's Damon Hill.

Villeneuve, 24, clocked a best time of 1min 30.02sec in testing on a scorching afternoon. Hill admitted afterwards: "You only have to look at that time to be impressed."

Hill, also the son of a famous motor racing father - the former world champion Graham Hill - clocked 1:29.14 round the Silverstone circuit he knows intimately in an identical car, with which he is, of course far more familiar.

Villeneuve will test the FW17 car over three days: yesterday, today and Thursday. Hill joined him yesterday, and will do so again today. David Coulthard, Williams' other driver in the Formula One world championship, will join him tomorrow.

Villeneuve, who won this year's Indianapolis 500 and who leads the IndyCar world series by 20 points, is being tipped as a possible replacement for Hill or Coulthard next year.

"I enjoyed it. It was a fun day and maybe I will push a bit harder tomorrow," Villeneuve said.

Hill, who spun off after leading on the second lap of Sunday's German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, is 21 points behind the defending world champion, Michael Schumacher of Germany, in this year's championship.

Gilles Villeneuve was killed driving a Ferrari during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix in 1982.