Grand Prix Gold: 1982 Canadian GP
Just one week before the Canadian Grand Prix, Nelson Piquet failed to qualify for Detroit. Seven days later, he ascended the top step of the podium. There was precious little to celebrate, however, after the devastating death of Riccardo Paletti at the race's start
The track in Montreal, newly renamed the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, proved to be a haven for turbos, the four such present heading the grid: Ferrari, Renault, Renault, Brabham-BMW. Didier Pironi had the pole in the revised 126C2, and was the thinking man's favourite to win. In addition to the sheer muscle of a turbo, he also had the reliability of Maranello and a chassis which had never handled so well.
That Pironi did not win really leads into the main story of the Canadian Grand Prix. For the second time in five weeks, Formula 1 faced stark tragedy. On the grid Pironi's engine stalled. Most of those behind found away past the Ferrari, but Riccardo Paletti's Osella, starting from the back of the grid and moving very quickly to the front, rammed the back of Pironi's car absolutely head-on at something over 100mph. Extricating the dreadfully injured driver took a long time, so devastating was the wreckage of the Osella. Briefly, there was a fire, dealt with efficiently. Paletti was finally removed to hospital, where he died shortly afterwards. Two hours later, the race was restarted.
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