Gilles Villeneuve was a man with an exceptional driving talent, he was a fierce racer with a flamboyant driving style. He knew the importance of beating his team mate. “I think I’ve proved that in equal cars, if I want someone to stay behind me….well, I think he stay’s behind!” In the 1979 French Grand Prix at Dijon, Rene Arnoux’s Renault must have been slightly better than the Ferrari as the two of them swapped places time and time again in the closing laps, Villeneuve edged Arnoux to finish second, not that this was of much consolation to him. “Finishing second is the first person to lose”. Arnoux on the other hand seemed much happier with his third place finish, in fact he seemed a little awestruck after the race. “I knew I’d been beaten by the best driver in the world”. Not that Derek Warwick would take any notice of what Arnoux thought! “He’s a Bloody Idiot. Always was and always will be!”
Ayrton Senna definitely had the same attitude to Gilles on coming second, in one of most famous quote he said ”Winning is like a drug…I can’t settle for second or third in no circumstances whatsoever”. His uncompromising attitude on the track won him an army of fans world wide, his ruthless driving wasn’t appreciated by all the other drivers, especially Prost (see part one). Gerhard Berger replaces Prost at McLaren for the start of the 1989 season, there he witnessed first hand the drive and determination of his team mate “He would be driving a car which on paper, was a second a lap slower than the opposition. And you knew at that moment, that you could not beat the opposition .Ninety nine percent of the drivers would accept this and say: ‘well next week we will have a new engine and we will be there.’ “For Aryton of course , it wasn’t like that at all He would think I have to be quickest, and he would do it. He was’nt dreaming. He just did it.”
Mika Hakkinen also drove along side Senna at McLaren in 1993 when he replaced the hapless Michael Andretti. ”With Senna,I learned how things should be done…With Mansell I learned how things mustn’t be done” (Not much love for ‘out Nige’ in these quotes!)
This is perhaps my personal favourite quote from Ayrton “Racing, competing, it`s in my blood. It`s part of me, it`s part of my life; I have been doing it all my life and it stands out above everything else”. It’s says everything about him for me.
One last thought from Enzo Ferrari “Aerodynamics is for those who cannot manufacture good engines.” does that include Exhaust blow diffusers then Enzo?