Villeneuve: The drive of his life
Gilles Villeneuve was one of the greatest natural drivers in Formula One. Thirty years on, Top Gear celebrates his genius...
Posted: 09 Jul 2012
Grand Prix starts: 67. Wins: six. Pole positions: two. Fastest laps: eight. Total points scored: 107. If ever there was a driver whose reputation rests on something other than statistics, it’s Gilles Villeneuve. His was a career that was pulled out of the ether, a little man from Canada who was seemingly racing snowmobiles one moment, Ferraris the next.
He was a driver for whom the percentage game was anathema, who earned every one of those 107 points driving the only way he knew how: flat out. Not just flat out, in fact, but flamboyantly, spectacularly so, summoning up grip from nowhere, and sliding his car with the sort of skilful abandon that signified a gift from the gods when really there was no grip to be had. He was beyond exhilarating to watch.