|Race 5 of 16 in the 1982 Formula One season|
|Date||May 9, 1982|
|Official name||XL Grote Prijs van Belgie|
Heusden-Zolder, Limburg, Belgium
|Course||Permanent racing facility
4.262 km (2.648 mi)
|Distance||70 laps, 298.340 km (185.380 mi)|
|Time||1:20.214 on lap 67|
Canadian driver Gilles Villeneuve was killed in an accident during the final qualifying session. At the time of the crash, his team-mate Didier Pironi had set a time 0.1s faster than Villeneuve for sixth place. Contemporary and more recent writers say that he was attempting to improve his time on his final lap. Some suggest that he was specifically aiming to beat Pironi due to bitterness at being passed by him two weeks earlier in the closing stages of San Marino, when Villeneuve believed Pironi had been ordered to remain behind him. Villeneuve's biographer Gerald Donaldson quotes Ferrari race engineer Mauro Forghieri as saying that the Canadian, although pressing on in his usual fashion, was returning to the pits on his last set of qualifying tyres when the accident occurred. If so, he would not have set a time on that lap.
With eight minutes of the session left, Villeneuve came over the rise after the first chicane and found Jochen Mass travelling much more slowly through Butte, the left-handed bend before the Terlamenbocht corner. Mass saw Villeneuve approaching at high speed and moved to the right to let him through on the racing line. At the same instant Villeneuve also moved right to pass the slower car. The Ferrari hit the back of Mass' car and was launched into the air at a speed estimated at 200–225 km/h (120–140 mph). It was airborne for over 100 m before nosediving into the ground and disintegrating as it somersaulted along the edge of the track. Villeneuve, still strapped to his seat, but without his helmet, was thrown a further 50 m from the wreckage into the catch fencing on the outside edge of the Terlamenbocht corner.
Several drivers stopped and rushed to the scene. John Watson and Derek Warwick pulled Villeneuve, his face blue, from the catch fence. The first doctor arrived on the scene within 35 seconds to find that Villeneuve was not breathing, although his pulse continued throughout; he was intubated and ventilated before being transferred to the circuit medical centre and then by helicopter to University St Raphael Hospital where a fatal fracture of the neck was diagnosed. Villeneuve was kept alive on life support while his wife travelled to the hospital and the doctors consulted with specialists worldwide. He died at 9:12 that evening.
The Ferrari team withdrew from the race after the accident and left the circuit. The final eight minutes of the qualifying were run after the debris from the accident had been cleaned up. No drivers improved their times, leaving the Renaults of Alain Prost and René Arnoux on the front row of the grid.
|2||6||Keke Rosberg||Williams-Ford||70||+ 7.268||3||6|
|3||25||Eddie Cheever||Ligier-Matra||69||+ 1 Lap||14||4|
|4||11||Elio de Angelis||Lotus-Ford||68||+ 2 Laps||11||3|
|5||1||Nelson Piquet||Brabham-BMW||67||+ 3 Laps||8||2|
|6||20||Chico Serra||Fittipaldi-Ford||67||+ 3 Laps||23||1|
|7||29||Marc Surer||Arrows-Ford||66||+ 4 Laps||22|
|8||18||Raul Boesel||March-Ford||66||+ 4 Laps||24|
|9||26||Jacques Laffite||Ligier-Matra||66||+ 4 Laps||17|
|Ret||5||Derek Daly||Williams-Ford||60||Spun Off||13|
|Ret||15||Alain Prost||Renault||59||Spun Off||1|
|Ret||2||Riccardo Patrese||Brabham-BMW||52||Spun Off||9|
|Ret||31||Jean-Pierre Jarier||Osella-Ford||37||Broken Wing||16|
|Ret||22||Andrea de Cesaris||Alfa Romeo||34||Gearbox||6|
|Ret||23||Bruno Giacomelli||Alfa Romeo||0||Collision||15|
|DNS||27||Gilles Villeneuve||Ferrari||Fatal accident|
|DNPQ||19||Emilio de Villota||March-Ford|
Unless otherwise indicated, all race results are taken from "The Official Formula 1 website". Retrieved 2007-06-16.
1982 San Marino Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
1982 Monaco Grand Prix
1981 Belgian Grand Prix
|Belgian Grand Prix||Next race:
1983 Belgian Grand Prix
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