Congratulations on an excellent article on Gilles Villeneuve. What you said is very much what I have always believed. I, too, cannot understand those who say Gilles could not have won a championship, for in 1979 he came very, very close. I can’t think of a single race that season when you could say driver error put him out.
You mention Watkins Glen and his babying the car home. By lap 29 of 59, he and Alan Jones had lapped the entire field, which must be some sort of a record in itself! Gilles then let four cars unlap themselves and still won by 47sec.
One of my most treasured memories happened in the summer of 1981 when a school friend and I got to the German Grand Prix. On the Friday evening, equipped with a large banner with a cartoon of Gilles in the 126C, we, along with many others, found our way into the pitlane. Gilles and Joann were in the Ferrari garage, and the crowd parted to allow us to get to the front with our banner. A wave of the hand, and Gilles came over to speak to us. We had one photo left to take in the camera and no flash. But the slightly blurred image of Gilles holding one end of the banner and myself on the other, standing behind a 126C, is one
I will treasure eternally. A wonderful moment. We were allowed free access to the garage for some time after, a privilege afforded to no-one else that evening.
Saturday May 8, 1982, changed motor racing for ever. I always held the belief that he was too good to do himself harm. Gilles was unique and that is why, 20 years on, we are still talking about him.
The most exciting driver since motor racing began, and undoubtedly one of the best.
I am, Yours etc, Andrew Scoley, Lincoln