The tragedy of Ferrari's most unpopular star
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The tragedy of Ferrari's most unpopular star

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Following the death of his Ferrari team-mate Gilles Villeneuve, Didier Pironi was a polarising figure in Formula 1, who might have been champion but for a twist of fortune, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

It is 37 years since the death of Gilles Villeneuve, the most beloved racing driver of his generation, a man without whom, for many, motor racing was never the same again.

Intrinsic to the accident at Zolder was the conduct of his Ferrari team-mate, Didier Pironi.

At Imola, two weeks before, the red cars - low on fuel - had been cruising to a one-two, Gilles ahead, but on the final lap, at the last overtaking point, Pironi abruptly whipped past, and stole the victory.

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