My childhood years were dominated by Jean Behra, the first - and greatest - hero of my life, and it started one evening in April 1954, when I saw on TV a clip of the Pau Grand Prix, in which Behra's Gordini defeated Maurice Trintignant's Ferrari. It was, the commentator said, the triumph of a better driver over a better car.
These were two very disparate Frenchmen, Trintignant a dapper little man whose driving mirrored his appearance, Behra also small, but stocky and tough, with charisma to throw away.
At eight, I was instantly ensnared, and for the next five years 'Jeannot', his chequered helmet, his victories, his innumerable accidents, became my world: when he was killed, in August 1959, I came to face to face with grief for the first time. Sixty years on, photographs of him retain pride of place on my office wall.