Gilles’ First Day

By Richard Kelley F1

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In 1977, Gilles Villeneuve arrived in Ferrari’s Mosport pit for his first F1 session as a Scuderia driver after every photojournalist had been physically removed. There were to be no exceptions.

I left the pit lane and took position in front of a narrow three-inch split between the concrete wall sections that formed the rear of Ferrari’s pit stall. I was totally alone, waiting quietly to avoid drawing attention.

When Gilles arrived, I gently placed my Nikon’s telephoto lens in the middle of the the split and made the only series of images of a joyous Gilles Villeneuve at the very moment the team placed the Ferrari jacket on his shoulders.

Gilles once said, given three wishes, he would be a racer, be a Formula 1 driver, and drive for Ferrari. This then was his completion of his dream and my witnessing that moment with him was pure bliss.

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