Let's take the 11 seconds faster story.
How many ventured out? How many did of these made a real effort? Who went out?
So let's say that it was an unimaginable act of fantastic driving. But 11 seconds?
Maybe the Ferrari was imminently better suited to the conditions? Maybe Villeneuve was an ace in slippery conditions (which would make sense considering his earlier exploits). And then again maybe he wasn't ace in drier conditions (as his records in qualifying show).
Problem is that as long as these, in my opinion, relevant questions can be asked you can't with any kind of certainty annoint GV one of the greatest ever.
We are talking opinions. They are like a-holes. Everybody has one. You have yours. I have mine.
This was mentioned in the MotorSport feature on Gilles.
You kind of ridicule the 11 seconds at Watkins Glen, yes it was only 10.7. And how many others went out and so on.
A friend of mine was there that day at Watkins Glen and he still tates that practice session of Gilles one of the best ever performances of any driver ever if it came to showing his skills and level of car control and the highlight of the day and the entire weekend.
Largely forgotten from that event is that Gilles had a battle with Alan Jones (who always spoke highly about Gilles) and eventually Gilles went on to win the race but in the final moments of the race his oil pressure was nearly gone.
Nevertheless, Gilles nursed his car home and won the race.
Car breaker? Hard on his equipment all the time?
But despite al the actions he did, I have rarely heard and read about drivers who complained about his actions and considered him dangerous to himself and others. To himself yes, but not with others. He was tough in a straight duel but never, ever unfair or ruthless like some drivers, a certain Brazilian in particular who sometimes are compared with him.
Jarama 1981 a perfect example. No-one could pass him yet none of the four driver behind him ever accused Gilles of blocking them or making it dangerous to even try to overtake him. Yes he was holding them up but they simply couldn't get by him and none of the drivers complained about it.
I am not going to try to change your opinion, you have yours and you stick to it.
But as some say, he was indeed overrated in some aspects, but at the same time he is also underrated in a number of other aspects.
He wasn't the best ever, and some of his actions I have doubst and hesitations about to herald them. But he has done miracles with inferior cars that to this day I still find difficult to believe that it ever happened and that makes him for me one of the very best of all time and my definite favourite. The more while he did not need dirty tricks and disgusting acts within his team or on track to achieve it.
Edited by Henri Greuter, 11 April 2012 - 09:32.