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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:34 am 
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I know he is regarded as one of the best drivers to never win the championship, but other than that what I think made him special was his racecraft to overtake people cleanly or on the limit without getting crashing into them. However, how would good is he in a competitive car? He only got a competitive car for one or two years, in comparison to great drivers such as Ayrton, Schumy and Alain Prost, would he have able been able to beat them in equal machinery? I like to think Gilles Villeneuve as the complete opposite of Ayrton Senna for some reason but same goal

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:46 pm 
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I think people will remind of Gilles for the "crazy" (or unusual) stuff he pulled; keep racing with the front wing blocking his view, keep racing with a flat tyre, keep racing with no rear suspension on one side, etc. Unfortunately we'll never know what he could have done if Zolder didn't happened.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:20 pm 
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Gilles was class pure class


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:27 pm 
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With respect I don't see what was so great about him. Some of his actions were dangerous (as mentioned above) and had he not died at Zolder he certainly wouldn't be held in such high regard as he is.

Still love watching his battle with Arnoux though.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:36 pm 
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I was blessed with being able to watch Gilles race in Formula Atlantic before he was discovered and went to Formula One. I also watched his entire career in Formula One. Gilles was special, he stood out and did truly amazing things. On his death the tributes flowed from far and wide, not because people wanted to just say something nice, but because he deserved it.

Quote:
"Gilles was the fastest driver in the history of motor racing. But more important for me is that he was the most genuine person I have ever known."
Jody Scheckter

He was the complete antithesis of Senna. Where Senna was belligerent and bullying, Gilles was pleasant and nice to be around. This is demonstrated by the fact that, in of all teams, Ferrari, he and Jody became friends, not foes. The same dynamics occurred with Andretti and Peterson at Lotus. And anyone who has ever met Mario or dealt with him immediately realize he's just a humble and nice person who can race the wheels off any car. (or snowmobile)

There is a very good reason that even after all these years, tifosi and many fans still adore the man. He was the quickest of them all, he was a clean racer but a fierce competitor. He was a humble and genuinely nice person with infinite courage. And WOW, was he exciting.

If Gilles had any shortcoming, it was that he raced to win every lap and entertain the fans, and only later in his career did he start to see the big picture and think about being consistent enough to win the title. I credit Jody with teaching him that.

Gilles could beat ANY driver (past or present) on equal machinery, and if I was to compare him to any driver, it would be Tazio Nuvolari.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:23 pm 
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Gilles is both somewhat overestimated and good many underestimated.

First, about a claim of some people that he will be a sure future champion. I think that his chances of winning the title in 1982 were not so sure as many give him credit. For example, in Brazil 1982, just two months before his death, he made an unusual error and spun, which indicated that he wasn't yet fully mature. Even at Imola, the whole circus was triggered by his error in front of Pironi where he missed the curve and went off for a moment, enough for Pironi to make a pass. If he stayed with us, and with Ferrari beyond 1982, he would most probably struggle to keep up with Renault and Brabham in 1983. From 1984 onward, it was all about being in one of the two right teams: Mclaren and Williams. So, would he be champion for sure in the future? My answer would be, most probably not.

On the other side, his critics often fail to see in him two great values where he sets utmost highs; his sportsmanship and his passion.
He was one of the safest drivers in the sport. His spinning off in Brazil 1982 while in lead, was actually triggered by giving place to Piquet, who came alongside him with fresher rubber, so he went on the dirty part of the track and spun. He was also very supportive of teammate Pironi, who had hard times adapting to turbo Ferrari, and novelty even for Gilles himself. At one testing, where Pironi set up some horrible times, Gilles gathered around the journalists and ask them not be harsh on Pironi. He was honest, loving, and respecting. That's why Pironi's betrayal fell so hard on him and others that knew Gilles.
His passion is what made him famous. His fever to drive the car to the limits, while often let him down in standings due to self-inflicted mechanical breakages (for example Monaco 1979), made him one of the most pleasing driver to watch. Dijon 1979, Monaco and Canada 1981 or you name it, is where that fever visibly went up so high that the hearts of the spectators were melted. He was fearless, passionate and probably race lover just a bit more than others around him.

While he lacked strategy and forethought, he is surely in line with best ever drivers around him, before and after, when it comes to sportsmanship and passion.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:42 pm 
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Lt. Drebin wrote:
Gilles is both somewhat overestimated and good many underestimated.

First, about a claim of some people that he will be a sure future champion. I think that his chances of winning the title in 1982 were not so sure as many give him credit. For example, in Brazil 1982, just two months before his death, he made an unusual error and spun, which indicated that he wasn't yet fully mature. Even at Imola, the whole circus was triggered by his error in front of Pironi where he missed the curve and went off for a moment, enough for Pironi to make a pass. If he stayed with us, and with Ferrari beyond 1982, he would most probably struggle to keep up with Renault and Brabham in 1983. From 1984 onward, it was all about being in one of the two right teams: Mclaren and Williams. So, would he be champion for sure in the future? My answer would be, most probably not.

On the other side, his critics often fail to see in him two great values where he sets utmost highs; his sportsmanship and his passion.
He was one of the safest drivers in the sport. His spinning off in Brazil 1982 while in lead, was actually triggered by giving place to Piquet, who came alongside him with fresher rubber, so he went on the dirty part of the track and spun. He was also very supportive of teammate Pironi, who had hard times adapting to turbo Ferrari, and novelty even for Gilles himself. At one testing, where Pironi set up some horrible times, Gilles gathered around the journalists and ask them not be harsh on Pironi. He was honest, loving, and respecting. That's why Pironi's betrayal fell so hard on him and others that knew Gilles.
His passion is what made him famous. His fever to drive the car to the limits, while often let him down in standings due to self-inflicted mechanical breakages (for example Monaco 1979), made him one of the most pleasing driver to watch. Dijon 1979, Monaco and Canada 1981 or you name it, is where that fever visibly went up so high that the hearts of the spectators were melted. He was fearless, passionate and probably race lover just a bit more than others around him.

While he lacked strategy and forethought, he is surely in line with best ever drivers around him, before and after, when it comes to sportsmanship and passion.

+1

Gilles was a fantastic person, was hugely talented and was perhaps the fastest F1 driver ever. But he also wasn't the sharpest tool in the box, couldn't think strategically and made far too many basic driving errors to have really been a credible WDC contender. His legend lives on because of the nature of his death. Had he lived, I suspect he'd be more remembered as a Jean Alesi type driver - talented, but not smart enough to make the most of it.

Someone who worked for Ferrari in 1982 once told me "Can you imagine Villeneuve in a final race title decider? He'd have stuffed it into the barrier before the end of the first lap, but he would have done it in a way that would have been the most glorious, stylish way to lose a title".

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:21 am 
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Blinky McSquinty wrote:

Quote:
"Gilles was the fastest driver in the history of motor racing. But more important for me is that he was the most genuine person I have ever known."
Jody Scheckter


No doubt he was good, but I can hardly believe that. Not because I am ignorant of who he was, but because I believe in rationality and hard evidence. He was not as fast as guys like Schumacher, Senna, Clark, Hamilton, Moss.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:33 am 
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I haven't seen him race unfortunately, but the praise he receives is kind of similar to Alesi only much better. care to comment on that Blinky and Drebin?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:39 am 
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MistaVega23 wrote:
With respect I don't see what was so great about him. Some of his actions were dangerous (as mentioned above) and had he not died at Zolder he certainly wouldn't be held in such high regard as he is.

Still love watching his battle with Arnoux though.

This seems to run along the same lines as Senna was only great because he died

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:29 am 
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M.Nader -DODZ- wrote:
I haven't seen him race unfortunately, but the praise he receives is kind of similar to Alesi only much better. care to comment on that Blinky and Drebin?

You have mistakenly concluded that I write against Gilles, which is not so, as he is my favorite character in F1. Of course he is comparable to any top driver of his era, unlike Alesi. But I have doubts that in given circumstances 1982, he would be a champion; because, while being his fan, I am not a blind fan. I don't think that he is a sort of a superman, capable of anything that imagination can think of. Please read my post again.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:15 am 
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M.Nader -DODZ- wrote:
I haven't seen him race unfortunately, but the praise he receives is kind of similar to Alesi only much better. care to comment on that Blinky and Drebin?


First off, I agree with Drebin. I never thought of him as a future WDC who was robbed of it by tragedy, he was just a great racer.

Commenting on a previous post questioning whether he was as quick as the current aces, why not? Because of the differences in technology and cars, we can never safely compere these drivers directly. But you know how to do it without a stopwatch? Get close to the track (I'm talking real close) and observe. After a few laps you will notice that some drivers manage to turn in harder, get on the gas sooner, and make life for the car ahead intolerable. And pretty soon your mates will turn to you and say "he's pretty quick", and you will nod your head. I've done that with many greats famous for being quick, from Ronnie Peterson to James Hunt to Niki Lauda. Gilles was definitely one of them.

My apologies for the side trip M.Nader -DODZ, I felt I had to deal with that. Both Gilles and Jean were glorious warriors who carried the battle flag of Ferrari into battle, and despite not winning as much as hoped for, acquitted themselves magnificently. They were very different, but both were courageous and honorable in their deeds, earned the respect of their competitors, and adoration of countless fans.

The first time I saw Gilles was at a Formula Atlantic race at Mosport. At that time, Formula Atlantic was the top feeder series before Formula One and CART. So the drivers were no slouches. Gilles started the race well back, and I didn't see him on the first lap because I was following the leaders. But after the field disappeared, my buddy asked me if I saw him, and replied I had not. So he told me to watch this 69 car next lap, he was doing crazy stuff. So on lap 2 I picked him out about in the middle of the field. The cars approached the entry to Moss corner, he passed two cars on the inside, then another in the very short straight on the outside, then three cars exiting Moss. People frequently use such language as "he put the car where it should not have been", and "it was unworldly", but he did it. By lap three the crowd was buzzing, with a lot of pointing going on. By lap 4 everyone there was looking out for just this one car. We didn't even see the leaders or whatever, we were looking out for that crazy kid in the 69 car.

His race didn't last long, he retired about half way, some mechanical problem. So the record books show him as starting well back, and a DNF. But for the crowd there that day, the entire weekend was forgotten. What was the major race, who won, who cares. All lost by just one short memory, just a few laps, but something that a fan could spend an entire lifetime and never witness personally.

It was like gazing into the sun and being blinded.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:10 am 
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Lt. Drebin wrote:
M.Nader -DODZ- wrote:
I haven't seen him race unfortunately, but the praise he receives is kind of similar to Alesi only much better. care to comment on that Blinky and Drebin?

You have mistakenly concluded that I write against Gilles, which is not so, as he is my favorite character in F1. Of course he is comparable to any top driver of his era, unlike Alesi. But I have doubts that in given circumstances 1982, he would be a champion; because, while being his fan, I am not a blind fan. I don't think that he is a sort of a superman, capable of anything that imagination can think of. Please read my post again.


Actually i understood you were saying how good he is, maybe the wording let me down.

thanks for that Blinky! i sure did miss a lot of racing growing up


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:48 pm 
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pokerman wrote:
MistaVega23 wrote:
With respect I don't see what was so great about him. Some of his actions were dangerous (as mentioned above) and had he not died at Zolder he certainly wouldn't be held in such high regard as he is.

Still love watching his battle with Arnoux though.

This seems to run along the same lines as Senna was only great because he died

No, not at all the same... Senna has the accolades that say how talented he was, rather than a mere suggestion, notion, or popular opinion.

Gilles was a talented driver with great skill and stones the size of mount everest, but he lacked too much to be held in such high esteem IMPO. And whilst his compatriots may have been quite fond of him and truly cared about him as a person, every last one of them bested him and some with relative ease, with the exception of Scheckter of course. I'm not bashing on the guy but just as Senna's legend grew to almost god-like heights thanks to his premature death, so too has that of Gilles Villeneuve. But that is indeed human nature.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:14 pm 
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MistaVega23 wrote:
With respect I don't see what was so great about him. Some of his actions were dangerous (as mentioned above) and had he not died at Zolder he certainly wouldn't be held in such high regard as he is.

Still love watching his battle with Arnoux though.

I agree, had Senna not died at Imola he probably wouldn't be glorified quite as much. Wait, sorry, you said Villeneuve at Zolder. My bad.

Anyway back on topic, Villeneuve was a great driver. Given enough more time he may have failed at a few more championships and been the Moss of his era. Had he succeeded, he'd have probably ranked alongside-ish Hunt as a WDC that was exciting, successful but didn't win as much.

Alongside the greats? We'll unfortunately never know. Back to my original comment about Senna, we'll never know about him. He may have gone onto 4-6 WDCs, he may have faded into obscurity, he may have taken Sid Watkins advice and retired after a successful or failed 1994 title challenge then returned ala Schumacher and been a shadow of his former self.

Senna fans refuse to believe anything but him winning in 1994 and beyond, but we won't know and that's why, I believe, so many blindly call him the best. Villeneuve isn't quite of that level, but transplant similar scenarios and I believe that's your answer (whatever it might be).

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:16 pm 
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scuderia_stevie wrote:
Senna fans refuse to believe anything but him winning in 1994 and beyond, but we won't know and that's why, I believe, so many blindly call him the best.


I know for me and my father, he was already the best at that point and he already had something about him that was special. I guess me and my father aren't the only ones to have felt that way.

Honestly, Imola '94 was as black a day as it gets for me. I quit watching F1 for about half a season before I could bring myself to it again. Believe me when I say there is nothing "blind" about it.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:59 pm 
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mds wrote:
scuderia_stevie wrote:
Senna fans refuse to believe anything but him winning in 1994 and beyond, but we won't know and that's why, I believe, so many blindly call him the best.


I know for me and my father, he was already the best at that point and he already had something about him that was special. I guess me and my father aren't the only ones to have felt that way.

Honestly, Imola '94 was as black a day as it gets for me. I quit watching F1 for about half a season before I could bring myself to it again. Believe me when I say there is nothing "blind" about it.


:thumbup:

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:29 pm 
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the incubus wrote:
I'm not bashing on the guy but just as Senna's legend grew to almost god-like heights thanks to his premature death, so too has that of Gilles Villeneuve. But that is indeed human nature.


Once again, a valid comment I fully agree with. People are funny, and sometimes death at a certain time adds an aura of weird half-truths, misconceptions, or just elevating the individual. I can think of many martyrs who elevated their cause and personal status just because of (for them) poor timing. Joan of Arc, Jesus, Gandhi, just to name a few. Even for drivers it happens too. Not only Senna and Villeneuve, but Earnhardt and Jimmy Clark.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:57 pm 
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mds wrote:
scuderia_stevie wrote:
Senna fans refuse to believe anything but him winning in 1994 and beyond, but we won't know and that's why, I believe, so many blindly call him the best.


I know for me and my father, he was already the best at that point and he already had something about him that was special. I guess me and my father aren't the only ones to have felt that way.

Honestly, Imola '94 was as black a day as it gets for me. I quit watching F1 for about half a season before I could bring myself to it again. Believe me when I say there is nothing "blind" about it.

At that point he was "one of" the best, ever. Saying he was indeed the very best speaks to the bias of fandom. Sure he had a great ability to go incredibly fast almost anywhere but he was also arrogant and had a sense of self entitlement unlike anything ever seen in the sport. His movie did a superb job of portraying him as a victim but that was the point. That and vilifying his greatest rival of course. Interesting how in the movie the only testimony from his colleagues were the ones where they agreed. It is a well known fact that drivers in the field would intentionally yield positions to him out of fear that he would crash them out without giving it a 2nd thought. And boy was he ever a sore loser when his team did not produce the best car. Talk about a whiner.

In my book that diminishes his greatness a bit, as I am not able to overlook character flaws of that magnitude simply because I loved watching the guy do things in race cars no one else could. I'm just not built that way. He had the talent and skill to be the Michael Jordan of F1 but at times he'd intimidate opponents via threats rather than the promise of clean, hard play and still being good enough to whoop your candy donkey. Jordan, talked more trash on the court than ANYONE I've ever watched play the game live (and I got to see many, MANY NBA Stars of that era) but his type of intimidation came from allowing you to play your game and then flipping that switch and proceed to take you apart via his own game. Senna did this often but there were times he wasn't happy about something and he'd be rash and react poorly, rather than focussing on himself and his game plan to put in the best drive he could and show his fellow drivers he was better than they. The only one he could not do that with at will was Prost and where Senna fell short, Prost excelled. Prost had amazing talent himself though was just a little shy of Senna's ability, but he was mentally stronger/tougher than Senna and figured out a way to get under Ayrton's skin. It may have on occasion bitten him back, but for the most part Prost used his head to ensure Senna cost himself better finishes and some wins and that was the difference.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:16 pm 
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the incubus wrote:
mds wrote:
scuderia_stevie wrote:
Senna fans refuse to believe anything but him winning in 1994 and beyond, but we won't know and that's why, I believe, so many blindly call him the best.


I know for me and my father, he was already the best at that point and he already had something about him that was special. I guess me and my father aren't the only ones to have felt that way.

Honestly, Imola '94 was as black a day as it gets for me. I quit watching F1 for about half a season before I could bring myself to it again. Believe me when I say there is nothing "blind" about it.

At that point he was "one of" the best, ever. Saying he was indeed the very best speaks to the bias of fandom. Sure he had a great ability to go incredibly fast almost anywhere but he was also arrogant and had a sense of self entitlement unlike anything ever seen in the sport. His movie did a superb job of portraying him as a victim but that was the point. That and vilifying his greatest rival of course. Interesting how in the movie the only testimony from his colleagues were the ones where they agreed. It is a well known fact that drivers in the field would intentionally yield positions to him out of fear that he would crash them out without giving it a 2nd thought. And boy was he ever a sore loser when his team did not produce the best car. Talk about a whiner.

In my book that diminishes his greatness a bit, as I am not able to overlook character flaws of that magnitude simply because I loved watching the guy do things in race cars no one else could. I'm just not built that way. He had the talent and skill to be the Michael Jordan of F1 but at times he'd intimidate opponents via threats rather than the promise of clean, hard play and still being good enough to whoop your candy donkey. Jordan, talked more trash on the court than ANYONE I've ever watched play the game live (and I got to see many, MANY NBA Stars of that era) but his type of intimidation came from allowing you to play your game and then flipping that switch and proceed to take you apart via his own game. Senna did this often but there were times he wasn't happy about something and he'd be rash and react poorly, rather than focussing on himself and his game plan to put in the best drive he could and show his fellow drivers he was better than they. The only one he could not do that with at will was Prost and where Senna fell short, Prost excelled. Prost had amazing talent himself though was just a little shy of Senna's ability, but he was mentally stronger/tougher than Senna and figured out a way to get under Ayrton's skin. It may have on occasion bitten him back, but for the most part Prost used his head to ensure Senna cost himself better finishes and some wins and that was the difference.

What you've just posted could equally be attributed to the 'bias of fandom', though. Senna fans diminish Prost's achievements. Prost fans diminish Senna's.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:52 pm 
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the incubus wrote:
pokerman wrote:
MistaVega23 wrote:
With respect I don't see what was so great about him. Some of his actions were dangerous (as mentioned above) and had he not died at Zolder he certainly wouldn't be held in such high regard as he is.

Still love watching his battle with Arnoux though.

This seems to run along the same lines as Senna was only great because he died

No, not at all the same... Senna has the accolades that say how talented he was, rather than a mere suggestion, notion, or popular opinion.

Gilles was a talented driver with great skill and stones the size of mount everest, but he lacked too much to be held in such high esteem IMPO. And whilst his compatriots may have been quite fond of him and truly cared about him as a person, every last one of them bested him and some with relative ease, with the exception of Scheckter of course. I'm not bashing on the guy but just as Senna's legend grew to almost god-like heights thanks to his premature death, so too has that of Gilles Villeneuve. But that is indeed human nature.

Villenueve was around before i had any real interest in F1 so i can't count on personal experience, however Senna is a different story and its interesting that you do actually say that that Senna's reputation also got blown out of proportion due to his death which i happen to disagree with

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:57 pm 
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scuderia_stevie wrote:
MistaVega23 wrote:
With respect I don't see what was so great about him. Some of his actions were dangerous (as mentioned above) and had he not died at Zolder he certainly wouldn't be held in such high regard as he is.

Still love watching his battle with Arnoux though.

I agree, had Senna not died at Imola he probably wouldn't be glorified quite as much. Wait, sorry, you said Villeneuve at Zolder. My bad.

Anyway back on topic, Villeneuve was a great driver. Given enough more time he may have failed at a few more championships and been the Moss of his era. Had he succeeded, he'd have probably ranked alongside-ish Hunt as a WDC that was exciting, successful but didn't win as much.

Alongside the greats? We'll unfortunately never know. Back to my original comment about Senna, we'll never know about him. He may have gone onto 4-6 WDCs, he may have faded into obscurity, he may have taken Sid Watkins advice and retired after a successful or failed 1994 title challenge then returned ala Schumacher and been a shadow of his former self.

Senna fans refuse to believe anything but him winning in 1994 and beyond, but we won't know and that's why, I believe, so many blindly call him the best. Villeneuve isn't quite of that level, but transplant similar scenarios and I believe that's your answer (whatever it might be).

Well given that Hill should have been WDC in 1995, won it in 1996, then Villenueve won it in 1997, its a good bet that there was plenty of WDC's waiting for Senna given the cars that Williams managed to produce.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:00 am 
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Blinky McSquinty wrote:
the incubus wrote:
I'm not bashing on the guy but just as Senna's legend grew to almost god-like heights thanks to his premature death, so too has that of Gilles Villeneuve. But that is indeed human nature.


Once again, a valid comment I fully agree with. People are funny, and sometimes death at a certain time adds an aura of weird half-truths, misconceptions, or just elevating the individual. I can think of many martyrs who elevated their cause and personal status just because of (for them) poor timing. Joan of Arc, Jesus, Gandhi, just to name a few. Even for drivers it happens too. Not only Senna and Villeneuve, but Earnhardt and Jimmy Clark.

I can't comment on Earnhardt because i have no interest in NASCAR, however Jim Clark was considered to be the best and didn't need to die in order to gain adulation

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:44 am 
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the incubus wrote:
In my book that diminishes his greatness a bit, as I am not able to overlook character flaws of that magnitude simply because I loved watching the guy do things in race cars no one else could. I'm just not built that way. He had the talent and skill to be the Michael Jordan of F1 but at times he'd intimidate opponents via threats rather than the promise of clean, hard play and still being good enough to whoop your candy donkey. Jordan, talked more trash on the court than ANYONE I've ever watched play the game live (and I got to see many, MANY NBA Stars of that era) but his type of intimidation came from allowing you to play your game and then flipping that switch and proceed to take you apart via his own game. S


Sorry to go off on one but was not Michael Jordan meant to be a bit of a bully to the overweight guy who owned the Bulls? I know he had his reasons, but some say he went too far on bus trips and stuff. I do like Jordan though.

I agree with your general point just not the individual, I dislike darts player Phil Taylor despite him being the best ever as he is a convicted sex offender and a complete dick-head.

I can see your points about Senna, he was no angel that is for sure, there was defo a double standard with the Irvine incident he failed to compute.

But, I liked how expressive he was, he had a passion and you could tell he really cared. Was he always the best human being? No, but I can overlook his flaws personally. What you see as arrogance I saw as self-empowerment, he did have it easy in many ways with his charisma and being easy on the eye, if someone without those qualities like Mansell said some of the things Senna said he would be demonized no question.

Every driver is a bit of a moaner at times, so I can overlook that. He had a right to moan in 1993 when he was not getting the best car available to him, with certain parts being disclosed with the Benneton/Peugeot thing.

I can understand that eyes would roll when he spoke out against Benneton in 1994 though.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:09 am 
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the incubus wrote:
mds wrote:
scuderia_stevie wrote:
Senna fans refuse to believe anything but him winning in 1994 and beyond, but we won't know and that's why, I believe, so many blindly call him the best.


I know for me and my father, he was already the best at that point and he already had something about him that was special. I guess me and my father aren't the only ones to have felt that way.

Honestly, Imola '94 was as black a day as it gets for me. I quit watching F1 for about half a season before I could bring myself to it again. Believe me when I say there is nothing "blind" about it.

At that point he was "one of" the best, ever. Saying he was indeed the very best speaks to the bias of fandom.


Hold on. I'm not saying he was the best as if it was a fact. I'm saying that for us he was the best, which is an opinion.

Do opinions about who's the best automatically equal bias? I can't agree with that. I was never a fan of Schumacher, I always cheered for Hill/Villeneuve/Hakkinen/Raikkonen/(whoever could challenge Schumacher). But personal preferences aside, for me Schumacher was the best racing driver on the grid.

I'm not going into the rest of your post because while I might not agree with everything, it's all very personal and everything has been discussed at great lengths during the past 20 years :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:51 am 
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scuderia_stevie wrote:
Senna fans refuse to believe anything but him winning in 1994 and beyond, but we won't know and that's why, I believe, so many blindly call him the best. Villeneuve isn't quite of that level, but transplant similar scenarios and I believe that's your answer (whatever it might be).

It's not just Senna fans who find it hard to believe who would have been the 1994 world champion, other than Damon Hill. I was never a fan of Senna's, but I consider him the fastest driver I have ever seen in action. The only factor needed to be borne in mind for 1994 and what would have happened, is the fact that Senna would not have allowed the FIA to turn a blind eye to Benetton's cheating. Nor would the FIA have had any reason to, as their "star" driver would still have been alive, and on his way to 1994 and 1995 championships, before moving to Ferrari for 1996.

Since this thread is about a comparison between Villeneuve and other great drivers, I believe, from the evidence I have seen/read, that he was a more honourable competitor than most. And bloody fast too!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:19 pm 
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vince14 wrote:
the incubus wrote:
mds wrote:
scuderia_stevie wrote:
Senna fans refuse to believe anything but him winning in 1994 and beyond, but we won't know and that's why, I believe, so many blindly call him the best.


I know for me and my father, he was already the best at that point and he already had something about him that was special. I guess me and my father aren't the only ones to have felt that way.

Honestly, Imola '94 was as black a day as it gets for me. I quit watching F1 for about half a season before I could bring myself to it again. Believe me when I say there is nothing "blind" about it.

At that point he was "one of" the best, ever. Saying he was indeed the very best speaks to the bias of fandom. Sure he had a great ability to go incredibly fast almost anywhere but he was also arrogant and had a sense of self entitlement unlike anything ever seen in the sport. His movie did a superb job of portraying him as a victim but that was the point. That and vilifying his greatest rival of course. Interesting how in the movie the only testimony from his colleagues were the ones where they agreed. It is a well known fact that drivers in the field would intentionally yield positions to him out of fear that he would crash them out without giving it a 2nd thought. And boy was he ever a sore loser when his team did not produce the best car. Talk about a whiner.

In my book that diminishes his greatness a bit, as I am not able to overlook character flaws of that magnitude simply because I loved watching the guy do things in race cars no one else could. I'm just not built that way. He had the talent and skill to be the Michael Jordan of F1 but at times he'd intimidate opponents via threats rather than the promise of clean, hard play and still being good enough to whoop your candy donkey. Jordan, talked more trash on the court than ANYONE I've ever watched play the game live (and I got to see many, MANY NBA Stars of that era) but his type of intimidation came from allowing you to play your game and then flipping that switch and proceed to take you apart via his own game. Senna did this often but there were times he wasn't happy about something and he'd be rash and react poorly, rather than focussing on himself and his game plan to put in the best drive he could and show his fellow drivers he was better than they. The only one he could not do that with at will was Prost and where Senna fell short, Prost excelled. Prost had amazing talent himself though was just a little shy of Senna's ability, but he was mentally stronger/tougher than Senna and figured out a way to get under Ayrton's skin. It may have on occasion bitten him back, but for the most part Prost used his head to ensure Senna cost himself better finishes and some wins and that was the difference.

What you've just posted could equally be attributed to the 'bias of fandom', though. Senna fans diminish Prost's achievements. Prost fans diminish Senna's.

No sir, not at all.

While I feel Prost was the better driver, in my post you will find I point out traits/strengths of both and then stated what gave Prost the slightest of edges between the two. Prost was a complete driver as was Senna but the latter had the superior skill set to put in the fastest laps, while the former had the intellect, wisdom and PATIENCE to bide his time and force his arch rival into slight mistakes to take advantage as he knew he needed everything in his bag of tricks to beat him.

Said it before and I'll say it again… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59RSLhdGWQM


Mods, CAN WE PLEASE ENABLE EMBEDDING OF VIDEOS ON HERE ALREADY??!?!?!?!?!???!??!??!?!?!?!!!!?!?!?!!?!!?!??

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:40 pm 
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pokerman wrote:
I can't comment on Earnhardt because i have no interest in NASCAR, however Jim Clark was considered to be the best and didn't need to die in order to gain adulation


But that's my point. A driver on top of his form, and definitely one of the top in the grid loses his life through tragedy. That driver has legions of fans, and suddenly most speak only about the positive things while ignoring any negative aspects. And then because that driver is gone, it's difficult to challenge anything. I'm going to do a little exercise, and please remember that I have the greatest respect for Jimmy Clark, and the following statements are intended to provoke a reaction, rather than devalue a great driver.

He couldn't win in anything but the best car.
Lotus were cheating.
He was having trouble getting used to the new wide wires coming into vogue, and his best days were behind him.


Now for many who just read the above statements, some think: "how dare he say that, the man is dead", and/or "that's not right, he was the best ever". Once again my apologies for the comments in italics, but the point is that death changes our perception of the individual, and their status when criticized.

Gilles was a darn good driver, incredibly quick and brave. I adored the guy, and on his demise even I glossed over his faults and spent most of my memories dwelling on his wonderful positive aspects. I pride myself on attempting to be impartial and seeing any driver in anything but a balanced and fair light. But I also recognize that as a devout Gilles fan, my emotions and perception are warped strongly towards the positive and it's difficult to deal with any negative comments on the man.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:02 pm 
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Blinky McSquinty wrote:
pokerman wrote:
I can't comment on Earnhardt because i have no interest in NASCAR, however Jim Clark was considered to be the best and didn't need to die in order to gain adulation


But that's my point. A driver on top of his form, and definitely one of the top in the grid loses his life through tragedy. That driver has legions of fans, and suddenly most speak only about the positive things while ignoring any negative aspects. And then because that driver is gone, it's difficult to challenge anything. I'm going to do a little exercise, and please remember that I have the greatest respect for Jimmy Clark, and the following statements are intended to provoke a reaction, rather than devalue a great driver.

He couldn't win in anything but the best car.
Lotus were cheating.
He was having trouble getting used to the new wide wires coming into vogue, and his best days were behind him.


Now for many who just read the above statements, some think: "how dare he say that, the man is dead", and/or "that's not right, he was the best ever". Once again my apologies for the comments in italics, but the point is that death changes our perception of the individual, and their status when criticized.

Gilles was a darn good driver, incredibly quick and brave. I adored the guy, and on his demise even I glossed over his faults and spent most of my memories dwelling on his wonderful positive aspects. I pride myself on attempting to be impartial and seeing any driver in anything but a balanced and fair light. But I also recognize that as a devout Gilles fan, my emotions and perception are warped strongly towards the positive and it's difficult to deal with any negative comments on the man.

I think that 'He couldn't win in anything but the best car' is probably applicable to all of the 'great' drivers. Did Senna win regularly in a car that wasn't the best? No, although he did do well in 1993. Did Prost win regularly in a car that wasn't the best? Nothing springs to mind. Schumacher? No. Lauda? Nope. Clark? Piquet? Hakkinen? Fangio?

Can anyone name a driver who won a WDC in a clearly inferior car, and who didn't benefit from the misfortunes of the leading team?

Although you could argue that ensuring that you are sat in the best car is part of the art of being a great driver. Schumacher did it by building up Ferrari, but the majority of greats find their way into the best seat, then find a way out again as soon as it stops being the best.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:32 pm 
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Like Blinky I was fortunate to see GIlles V race in both F Atlantics and in F1. Imo in F1 he developed into as fast as any other great driver. His 'wild' exploits were consciously done; Jody Scheckter told how Gilles used to play to his fans, especially driving on the roads in Maranello, when he'd rev-up and wheelspin. But that in the GP car was a very serious, thinking racer. Like Nuvolari and Moss he did go for every race/ win, not score for the Championship, which I prefer to point-scoring drives.

Blinkers' assessment of GV is accurate, watching and chatting to him in the pits : he had no big head, no agendas, just a nice guy.

But I don't know that he was better than Senna, Alonso or any others!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:00 pm 
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POBRatings wrote:
Like Blinky I was fortunate to see GIlles V race in both F Atlantics and in F1. Imo in F1 he developed into as fast as any other great driver. His 'wild' exploits were consciously done; Jody Scheckter told how Gilles used to play to his fans, especially driving on the roads in Maranello, when he'd rev-up and wheelspin. But that in the GP car was a very serious, thinking racer. Like Nuvolari and Moss he did go for every race/ win, not score for the Championship, which I prefer to point-scoring drives.


Agreed but he only won 6.

Schumacher has more championships than Villeneuve has race wins.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:34 pm 
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POBRatings wrote:
Like Nuvolari and Moss he did go for every race/ win, not score for the Championship, which I prefer to point-scoring drives.

And there in lies precisely why he is hugely and sensationally overrated. EVERY driver who has EVER strapped into a Formula 1 car did so with the intention of hopefully winning. Sure they want to do their very best, but the ultimate winning. If he is as great/superb/fantastic as people make him out to be, then with the goal in mind being to win every race he entered, he fail miserably.

Knowing this, saying a driver the likes of Gilles was among the best is simply a stretch of epic proportions for the simple fact that those whom are truly special and on another level tally up wins with great consistency throughout their careers. Sure most slow down a bit over time and do tend to get beaten by the young up and coming new talents, but the greats tend to be in the mix consistently right up to their last drive.

I think however with Gilles, his great disposition and genuine nice guy likability makes it impossible for anyone who knew him to not place him upon a pedestal, and his fans cling to this perhaps a bit too whole heartedly and most cannot bring themselves to accept him as anything less. I don't work that way and I saw a driver with immense talent that didn't achieve what he should or could have.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:53 pm 
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Eva09 wrote:
POBRatings wrote:
Like Blinky I was fortunate to see GIlles V race in both F Atlantics and in F1. Imo in F1 he developed into as fast as any other great driver. His 'wild' exploits were consciously done; Jody Scheckter told how Gilles used to play to his fans, especially driving on the roads in Maranello, when he'd rev-up and wheelspin. But that in the GP car was a very serious, thinking racer. Like Nuvolari and Moss he did go for every race/ win, not score for the Championship, which I prefer to point-scoring drives.


Agreed but he only won 6.

Schumacher has more championships than Villeneuve has race wins.

You have no idea what went through my mind when I read that! :D

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:12 pm 
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pokerman wrote:
Blinky McSquinty wrote:
the incubus wrote:
I'm not bashing on the guy but just as Senna's legend grew to almost god-like heights thanks to his premature death, so too has that of Gilles Villeneuve. But that is indeed human nature.


Once again, a valid comment I fully agree with. People are funny, and sometimes death at a certain time adds an aura of weird half-truths, misconceptions, or just elevating the individual. I can think of many martyrs who elevated their cause and personal status just because of (for them) poor timing. Joan of Arc, Jesus, Gandhi, just to name a few. Even for drivers it happens too. Not only Senna and Villeneuve, but Earnhardt and Jimmy Clark.

I can't comment on Earnhardt because i have no interest in NASCAR, however Jim Clark was considered to be the best and didn't need to die in order to gain adulation

Having been a fan of NASCAR when it was a quality series, I will state on the record that Earnhardt was one of the greatest ever. Considering NASCAR has always had a greater number of cars, his 76 wins is damn impressive, and marketing wise, he is still even after his untimely death, the biggest name in NASCAR. Go figure.

Today's NASCRAP is a distant vision of what it once was and just like F1 you have many Pay Drivers that might otherwise never had a shot and thus the racing is not all it could or should be.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:53 pm 
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Gilles Villeneuve only had a good car in 1979 and 1982. Not the best, but just fast enough to score some wins (in 1982 Pironi permitting!). From 1979 Gilles was considered one of the fastest drivers, which position he maintained until his fatal crash. His Ferraris in 1980 and 1981 were much slower than Alonso's Renaults of 2008-9. Yet in 1981 he managed two great wins. Exactly as Moss did in 1961 with off-pace cars, through superior driving.

If Moss had stopped racing in 1956 he'd have been considered a so-so driver, based on his then-few wins. Same with any of the great drivers. If Senna's career had ended in about 1986-7, would he be as high rated as he is? Those drivers who enjoyed long careers (and in good cars) got more recognition and fame, and have consequently been 'rated' higher. Alonso's record from 2008 to 2010 was not great in terms of wins, but only because his cars were slow. Ascari was considered by Enzo Ferrari (and many others) to be Fangio's equal; Hawthorn said he was 'even faster and smoother than Fangio'; yet how many rate Ascari as highly? His career was too short, with only a few seasons in good cars. One driver who equalled and on occasion beat Nuvolari in same-cars, was Luigi Arcangeli; but he crashed fatally in 1931, only his fourth season. He hardly gets a mention in GP racing books, let alone is he highly rated.

In the 1983-1985, good-handling, Postlethwaite designed Ferraris that scored seven wins driven by Arnoux, Tambay and Alboreto, I have no doubt Gilles would have scored far more. Arnoux, Tambay and Alboreto were not nearly as fast as Gilles. The only drivers who rated near Gilles in his time, were Piquet and Prost. And they were absolute top-raters.

Just because a driver has a short period of success, does not mean his driving standard was any lower than those who enjoyed long careers in top teams/cars. Once a driver hits his peak he can take on any others, as Hamilton has shown. And GIlles Villeneuve did.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:29 pm 
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Vince 14: what you said is absolutely right about 'top' drivers all having top cars and that no-one won a WDC in a second rate car.

It is a human tendency to make heros of individual drivers and attribute all success to their superior talents. None of the greats in inferior cars scored many, if any, wins nor did they dominate: Senna at Toleman and Lotus 1984-1987; Clark in 1961,1966 ; Fangio in 1953; Moss in 1951-1954; Stewart in 1966-7; Schumacher in 1996-7; Alonso 2008 to 2012.

There have always been several drivers so close-matched at or near the top, that car deficiencies affect their performances drastically. Just as superior cars can make slower drivers dominant or WDCs, as were the cases with Mike Hawthorn, Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, Emerson Fittipaldi, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve jnr. By 'slower' here I refer to outright speed, but this does not preclude racing skill, physical and mental strength, technical ability and other driver attributes. Had any of these drivers been in lesser/slower cars, they would hardly be remembered.

To come back to the OP: if Gilles Villeneuve had driven for Williams in 1980 to 1982, he'd have won more than Jones, Reutemann and Rosberg together; they scored 11 wins; Villenueve was faster than all of them. What a difference this stat would have made to Gilles' reputation.

Despite my support, I'm not saying he was better /faster than any of the other greats, just that he was among them.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:30 pm 
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But that's not the point I'm trying to make POB.

The points you make are valid in regards to how talented Gilles was. That however doesn't make him an all time great in my book for the simple reason that most every other "great" managed to win more consistently regardless of having a top car. Some guys will just not accept no for an answer and will themselves, and drive the wheels off of cars in insane ways to claim victories against all odds. Sure Gilles did this a handful of times and he looked superbly sensational when doing so but he could not perform such a feat with any sort of consistency.

As for him being better than Reutemann, in 1978 they drove the same car and Reutemann won 4 races, Gilles just the 1. So I don't think it's fair or accurate to simply say Gilles was faster than them all.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:54 pm 
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the incubus wrote:
But that's not the point I'm trying to make POB.

The points you make are valid in regards to how talented Gilles was. That however doesn't make him an all time great in my book for the simple reason that most every other "great" managed to win more consistently regardless of having a top car. Some guys will just not accept no for an answer and will themselves, and drive the wheels off of cars in insane ways to claim victories against all odds. Sure Gilles did this a handful of times and he looked superbly sensational when doing so but he could not perform such a feat with any sort of consistency.

As for him being better than Reutemann, in 1978 they drove the same car and Reutemann won 4 races, Gilles just the 1. So I don't think it's fair or accurate to simply say Gilles was faster than them all.


In 1978 Gilles was a rookie and Carlos R was one of the mast talented and fastest of drivers; they got on well and Carlos actually generously gave Gilles positive advice. Great drivers did not start at the top, and had to develop (except Lewis Hamilton!) including Moss, Clark, Stewart (in his rookie season only won once 'with no poles, to Graham Hill's two wins and four poles).

It is important to read results in context, before using them as pure measures of inter-driver judgement. I reckon Ascari was one of the greatest, but know that his 1952 wins were a farce, his car was so superior, his team-mates so much slower, and Fangio was absent for the season through injury. Ascari was lucky then. But in 1953 to 1955 he proved his top-rating when Fangio and Gonzalez were back and in top cars. I also reckon Clark was one of the best, but that he was lucky Surtees was hobbled by off-pace cars 1961 to 1965, that Jim had no fast team-mate to challenge him. This does not change my rating Clark one of the best.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:59 pm 
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Eva09 wrote:
POBRatings wrote:
Like Blinky I was fortunate to see GIlles V race in both F Atlantics and in F1. Imo in F1 he developed into as fast as any other great driver. His 'wild' exploits were consciously done; Jody Scheckter told how Gilles used to play to his fans, especially driving on the roads in Maranello, when he'd rev-up and wheelspin. But that in the GP car was a very serious, thinking racer. Like Nuvolari and Moss he did go for every race/ win, not score for the Championship, which I prefer to point-scoring drives.


Agreed but he only won 6.

Schumacher has more championships than Villeneuve has race wins.


Schumacher scored 91 wins, Moss only 16, therefore Schumacher must be 5.6875 times better than Moss.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:01 pm 
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Blinky McSquinty wrote:
I have the greatest respect for Jimmy Clark, and the following statements are intended to provoke a reaction, rather than devalue a great driver.

He couldn't win in anything but the best car.
Lotus were cheating.
He was having trouble getting used to the new wide wires coming into vogue, and his best days were behind him.

Jim Clark managed to score wins in the Lotus 30, which was one of the worst cars Lotus ever made and certainly inferior to the Lolas and McLarens that were its contemporaries. Clark also managed to wring a Grand Prix win out of the BRM H16 powered Lotus 43, which was a long way from being the best F1 car in 1966.

Jim Clark was having such problems with the wider tyres that in his last Grand Prix (the 1968 South African GP) all he could manage was pole position, fastest lap and the race win.


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