My rivalry with Niki at Brabham in 1978 and McLaren in 1982 to ’83 was not so much about the racing, more how adroit he was within the team, his ability to swing the lead in his favour. I always knew I was as fast as him, and more creative as a racer, but he was very good at getting people around him. I believed the sport was about two guys going toe to toe, the quickest being number one, but Formula 1 is far more complex than that, and Niki was there to race for himself. He brought Parmalat money to Brabham, he was twice a world champion, and that gave him leverage in the team.
He was clever in the way he went about his business – races are often won before the cars get to the grid. At Monaco in ’78 I qualified second, using three sets of tyres, but Niki had used four and was held up by traffic on his last run, so Bernie told the guys to put my fourth set on Niki’s car. He qualified third and finished second so the dynamic in the team had changed.
I liked Niki; he was good company, we got on well, so what happened at Paul Ricard in July came as a shock. I was on pole, Niki third, and Bernie asked me, if I was leading on the last lap would I move over for Niki?