In his heyday as a driver, Jacques Laffite was as popular on the English side of the Channel as he was in his native France - as proven by the thousands of letters bearing British postmarks that he received following his massive crash at Brands Hatch in 1986. Now, two decades into his TV commentary career, he takes some time to reflect with Timothy Collings
As he walked across the paddock, up the stairs and into the media centre for this interview, Jacques Laffite was stopped and greeted more times than either of us wanted. It was a hot day, not comfortable to stand and swelter, but it is a measure of this Frenchman's enduring popularity with all nationalities that he has so many friends.
Not perhaps the greatest French driver of all time and maybe not the most handsome, he nevertheless remains a figure held in great affection by the English in particular, and has a sense of humour to go with his great status after many years spent living on the wrong side of the channel that divides England and France.
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