Hill remembers Ratzenberger
20 April 2004 –
Roland Ratzenberger was 'one of the nicest men' in Formula One. That is the recollection of 1996 world champion Damon Hill who pays tribute to the Austrian who most dismiss as the 'other driver' who was killed at Imola '94.
Hill told The Times that Ratzenberger's front wing failed before the corner. He 'flew unchecked at maximum speed into the concrete wall' in the Simtek.
Damon said the impact speed, when he later saw the replay, was 'sickening,' even if he drove slowly past the actual wreckage and didn't think it looked too bad. 'The car may have withstood the forces, but poor Roland could not have.'
In fact, Ayrton Senna - who later died just one corner before Tosa on the Sunday of that very race weekend - went to the crash scene to check it out, said Hill. 'He talked with Sid Watkins who I think tried to persuade him not to see,' Hill recalled. 'He came back, very upset and angry, and told us Roland was dead.'