Riccardo Paletti of Milan, Italy, was fatally injured in a multicar crash at the start of today's Canadian Grand Prix race won by Nelson Piquet.

Riccardo Petrese, Piquet's Brabham teammate, was second. John Watson, the Detroit Grand Prix winner, was third.

Paletti, who would have been 24 Tuesday, struck pole-sitter Didier Pironi's Ferrari, which had failed to start. Paletti's car burst into flames. It was Paletti's second Formula 1 start. He was driving for the Osella team.

Race officials said he died of massive hemorrhaging of the thorax and abdomen after undergoing surgery at a Montreal hospital.

Most of the cars managed to speed past Pironi's stalled Ferrari, but the March of Raul Boesel hit the rear and bounced off. Paletti's car then slammed into the rear of the Ferrari and cars driven by Geoff Lees and Eliseo Salazar crashed.

The race was restarted more than an hour later with Pironi and Salazar in their team's backup cars. Lees had no backup and was unable to restart and the Osella team withdrew its other entry.

Paletti is the second Grand Prix driver to be killed this year. The other was Canadian Gilles Villeneuve.

Piquet finished the 70-lap race in an unofficial time of 1 hour 46 minutes 39.577 seconds.

The final two laps of the race saw two forerunners, third-place Italian Andrea de Cesaris in an Alfa Romeo and fifth-place Derek Daly of Ireland in a Williams, fall behind when their cars stopped on the track. De Cesaris finished sixth, while Daly ended up in seventh, two laps behind the leaders.

Their mishaps allowed Grand Prix points leader Watson to move his McLaren into third place, well behind Patrese. Italian Elio de Angelis finished fourth in his Lotus, while Marc Surer of Switzerland placed fifth in his Ragno Arrows.