Grand Prix Gold: 1982 Brazilian GP
Nelson Piquet was so drained after winning in front of his home crowd at Rio that the Brabham driver collapsed on the podium. He might have wished he hadn't bothered, as controversy was to follow...
It was what the crowd had come to see. Nelson Piquet is Brazilian and is the World Champion, and last Sunday he won the Brazilian Grand Prix. A crowd huge by Rio standards gave him a fantastic reception, as their man climbed onto the podium, briefly acknowledged the applause…and collapsed. A combination of powerful heat and humidity, an unrelenting battering for an hour and a half, ridiculous g-forces; all these came together to reduce the world champion to a state of helplessness.
Piquet's drive was therefore one of great courage. He took the lead shortly before half-distance, when Gilles Villeneuve crashed. The Ferrari driver's fans were in rapture for the first 29 laps, for Villeneuve made a splendid start to lead into the first corner, and headed the field comfortably for a while, until Piquet and Keke Rosberg's Williams got past Rene Arnoux's second-placed Renault and began to catch the Ferrari. For a few laps we had a wonderful scrap, but after Villeneuve's departure the race became somewhat processional. Rosberg, his right-rear tyre going away, was never able to make the late challenge his greater stamina might have permitted, but his second place was an honourable one. He was in the thick of it throughout.
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