I first raced at Monaco in 1955, a famous year for the Grand Prix, when Ascari went into the water. I remember, because I was behind him…not very far…at one stage. I started in 6th place and I was going well, but there was this big fight at the front, and Fangio and Moss got away from us. Then Castellotti, Ascari and Behra were having a big battle. I remember Castellotti started smashing up his car, and I thought, “I could do well in this race.” Trintignant got ahead when Moss started to lap me and Perdisa blocked me. I went up from 6th to 5th to 4th and then 3rd and then the axle broke near the end. I was in the pits and saw Moss stopping and then I saw tremendous steam in the harbor, and because I am a sailor, I thought it was a boat doing something. I asked the mechanics what was happening and where was Ascari and they said he was in the sea!
I couldn’t understand the concept that a Formula One car was in the water…this was the first time in history. I then went to Ascari’s apartment later that afternoon to see him to say hello and see if he was all right. He was a very lovely, good friend. He said to me “I wanted to imitate you because I know you are a good sailor…that’s the reason I went into the ocean! Anyway, I will see you next week at the 1,000 Kilometers at Monza.” Then I went to Paris, and I was on a train in Switzerland on Thursday and read a newspaper that said Ascari was dead. It was unbelievable. That is a big memory for me because he was such a good man, and coming back to Monaco brings back these memories.