Joseph Gilles Henri Villeneuve (January 18, 1950 – May 8, 1982) was a Canadian racing driver. An enthusiast of cars and fast driving from an early age, he started his professional career in snowmobile racing in his native province of Quebec. He moved into single seaters — winning the US and Canadian Formula Atlantic championships in 1976 before being offered a one-off drive with McLaren at the 1977 British Grand Prix. He was taken on by reigning world champions Ferrari for the end of the season — in only his fifth season racing cars — and from 1978 to his death in 1982 drove for the Italian team. He won six Grand Prix races in a short career at the highest level. In 1979 he finished second by four points in the championship to teammate Jody Scheckter. Villeneuve died in a 140 mph (225 km/h) crash with the March of Jochen Mass during qualifying for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder. At the time of his death, Villeneuve was extremely popular with fans and with many journalists, on whom his death had a profound effect. Since 1982 he has become an iconic figure in the history of the sport, renowned for his car control, aggressive driving style, and a 'never give up' attitude. His son, Jacques Villeneuve, became a Formula One world champion in 1997.
The 1995 British Grand Prix (formally the XLVIII British Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held on July 16, 1995 at Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Northamptonshire, England. It was the eighth round of the 1995 Formula One season. The race, contested over 61 laps, was won by Johnny Herbert for the Benetton team after starting from fifth position. Jean Alesi finished second in a Ferrari, with David Coulthard third in a Williams car. The remaining points-scoring positions were filled by Olivier Panis (Ligier), Mark Blundell (McLaren) and Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Sauber). Herbert's victory was his first in Formula One, and the Benetton team's fifth of the season. The race was dominated, however, by the fight between World Drivers' Championship protagonists, Michael Schumacher (Benetton) and Damon Hill (Williams). Hill, who started from a pole position achieved during qualifying sessions held in variable weather conditions, retained his lead during the opening stages of the race whilst Schumacher, who was alongside him on the starting grid, fell behind Alesi in the run to the first corner. Despite being held up behind the slower Ferrari until it pitted, Schumacher used a more favourable one-stop strategy to move ahead of Hill, who made two pit stops for fuel and tyres, on lap 41. Four laps later, Hill attempted to pass Schumacher, but the two collided and were forced to retire from the race. This promoted Herbert and Coulthard, who were battling for third place, into the fight for the lead. Coulthard passed Herbert, but dropped back to third, behind Alesi, after incurring a stop-go penalty for speeding in the pit lane.