In 1978, Montreal hosted the Canadian Grand Prix for the very first time. Who better to take the inaugural victory than fan favourite and Formula 1 legend in the making, Gilles Villeneuve
I’ll give you all a second to start the video again. It’s physically impossible to listen to The Chain by Fleetwood Mac just once…
After 16 years of the Formula 1 circus journeying to Mont-Tremblant and Mosport Park for the Canadian Grand Prix, 1978 saw the introduction of Montreal’s Circuit Île Notre-Dame to the calendar. Renamed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 1982 following the death of possibly the most exciting Grand Prix driver in F1 history that same year, Montreal remains the home of the Canadian GP to this day. Apt then that its namesake – that man Villeneuve – should win on the circuit’s F1 debut.
Though bested in qualifying by both Jean Pierre-Jarier’s Lotus 79 and Jody Scheckter’s Wolf WR6, Villeneuve’s Ferrari 312T3 held third during the early stages of a forebodingly overcast race. Hot on Scheckter’s heels in typical fashion, the Canadian was soon through into second when Alan Jones’ Williams FW06 suffered a slow puncture. Jarier, some 30 seconds in the lead, seemed destined for victory until his brakes disappeared completely on lap 50. Enter Villeneuve who, with nearly 20 seconds in his pocket over second placed future teammate) Scheckter, took the chequered flag for the 1978 F1 season finale unchallenged. Montreal went mad.
Were this scene not steeped with enough emotion, the 1978 Canadian Grand Prix marked Gilles Villeneuve’s first ever F1 win, and his only official GP victory on home turf.
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