Last Updated: 18/03/23 6:46am
Former world champion Damon Hill has praised the “sensitive” telling of one of Formula 1’s most tragic stories ahead of the release of Villeneuve Pironi: Racing’s Untold Tragedy.
The documentary, which premieres on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Documentaries straight after Saudi Arabian Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday at 6:30pm, tells the story of a friendship turned feud between Ferrari drivers Gilles Villeneuve and Didier Pironi, which preceded their untimely deaths.
Featuring interviews with the families of both drivers, the documentary is centred around the 1982 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, during which a contentious incident saw the sudden breakdown of their relationship.
Through captivating archive footage, interviews with Jacques Villeneuve (Gilles’ son) and fellow F1 world champions Alain Prost and Sir Jackie Stewart, the in-depth story of their rise to glory culminating in that infamous and tragic 1982 season is revealed.
“It feels strange talking about the highlights because it is actually a tragic story, and sadly both of those drivers are no longer with us,” Hill told the Sky Sports F1 Podcast.
“Gilles, he was a legendary driver, the start point was his pizazz and the way he drove and his lack of fear. He was mad fast.
“Then he came into a relationship in the team with Pironi, and it’s a story of that friendship, the bond they had got badly broken, and ultimately may have been a part of the energy that went into Gilles’ accident.
“It told the story very well and very sensitively.”
Sky Sports F1’s Karun Chandhok, who attended a screening of the documentary alongside Hill in London on Tuesday, described it as “a very powerful, emotional rollercoaster in many ways.”
“It’s always a bit strange watching those films when we know how it ends,” Chandhok said.
“For me at least it was the first time I heard all of the family actually speaking about the events in such detail. Jacques himself has always been very closed up about talking about his father, but he spoke very eloquently about it.
Hill, who drove alongside Jacques Villeneuve at Williams in 1996, added: “It was fascinating listening to what Jacques had to say about his father and admitting that in some senses, on some occasions, he was frightened of his dad.
“His dad was a very direct person, a very honest person, and all that was well commented on and comes out in the story.”
Watch Villeneuve Pironi: Racing’s Untold Tragedy on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Documentaries at 6:30pm on Saturday, or at 7pm on Sunday. Get Sky Sports
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