Ayrton Senna

A Tribute


Ayrton Senna is one of the greatest racing drivers of all time: Tazio Nuvolari, Rudolf Carraciola, Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss and Jim Clark, were all, in their time, “the man to beat”. In the modern era few drivers have their sublime qualities: Nicki Lauda, Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost all excelled in their own ways and won their World Championships boldly, and Michael Schumacher came close by the sheer number of his victories. But Senna transcended them all with his strange mixture of grace, concentration and aggression.

His three World Championships, two second, one third and three fourth places, in as many years are an eloquent record. But the record also shows he won a quarter of all the Grands Prix he entered (41/161), against a clutch of drivers all of whom were World Champions, his 65 pole positions, 13 in one season (1988), and his charge from 5th place on the grid at Donnington to 1st on the opening lap of the European GP, puts him in a class of his own.

His talent manifested itself beyond the boundaries of mere skill. When he died, on Mayday 1994, he was still at his peak and millions of motor racing fans found it hard to believe. To put Ayrton Senna in an historical context, Ivan Rendall includes a chapter analysing the candidates for the best racing driver of all time. The BBC’s doyen of motor sport commentators, Murray Walker, was in no doubt: “Arguably the greatest racing driver who ever lived. He was supreme in every way.”


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