History has a way of aggrandizing the fallen, but few drivers have been as dearly missed as Gilles Villeneuve. Renowned for his ability to wrestle blistering lap times – often sideways – out of some of the most difficult cars to handle, the French Canadian driver remains a fan favorite to legions of Formula 1 fans and tifosi the world over.
When I was a kid growing up in Canada, I first got into Formula One racing when Gilles Villeneuve took the Grand Prix world by storm. After dominating Formula Atlantic for a couple of years, he ran a couple of races with McLaren at the end of the 1977 season. Shortly after that he signed with Ferarri as second to Carlos Reutemann and really captured the F1 world's attention at the Long Beach Grand Prix where he flung his car around on the beach front streets, leading the first half of the race b