Imola 1982: the greatest last battle of Gilles Villeneuve

It was Sunday, 25th April 1982 and in the Imola circuit was held the "San Marino Gran Premio", without the English teams: McLaren, Williams, Lotus and Brabham boycotted the race after the disqualification of all the cars with a water tank subsequently at the Brasilian GP.

At the end of the qualifying Alain Prost and Rene Arnoux, on Renault, were in the first places, Ferrari were in the second line with Gilles Villeneuve third and Didier Pironi fourth. After the start, Prost had to retire due to an electric problem, while Arnoux, Villeneuve and Pironi were fighting for the leadership.

At the 45th lap also Arnoux had to retire (engine broken) so the win was a Ferrari affair: at that moment Villeneuve was ahead of Pironi and he expected that the team mate didn't attack him. But the Canadian made a little mistake, going out of the track. The French immediately took his chance to take the lead. The furious Villeneuve overtook his friend in the next lap and was confident to win the race without any problem.

Neglecting the advice of the box, that shown the word "SLOW" at every lap, the drivers started an incredible battle, risking a collision and to ruin a race that Ferrari could end in first and second position.

Finally, in the last lap, Didier Pironi made the last overtake at the Tamburello corner. Villeneuve tried to get again the first position until the finish line, but at the end the winner was Pironi. Gilles never forgave his team mate that, from that moment, became his greatest rival. And this was lethal for the Canadian, because in the following race, in Belgium, at Zolder, trying to do a better lap time than Pironi, Villeneuve had his deadly crash.

This is the race's original video, with the outstanding commentary of the legend James Hunt.
Author marcolestu
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