Video: Senna's Most Memorable First Lap

Twenty-five years ago today Ayrton Senna died while competing in the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, the Brazilian triple World Champion going off at speed at the Tamburello corner. It was in many ways the nadir of a weekend that saw a serious accident for Rubens Barrichello on the Friday, Roland Ratzenburger fatally crashing his Simtek on the Saturday, and then an incident strewn race with Senna crashing his Williams shortly after the race restarted after a safety car period.

Senna was undoubtedly a complex personality, capable of moments of genius in a race car but also able to justify to himself actions such as taking Alain Prost out at the start of a race in order to win a world title as retribution for perceived past slights. He won 41 of his 161 Grand Prix race starts, was on the podium 80 times and set 65 fastest laps.

There is much we could say about his life and death, but we would simply like to mark the occasion with a reminder of one of his most famous race laps - though there are many great Senna moments to choose from ranging from his first win in the wet at Estoril in just his second race for Lotus, to a qualifying lap at Monaco in 1988 that saw him 1.4 seconds clear of the rest of the field.

The 1993 European Grand Prix was the only time the Formula One circus visited Donington Park, and in a race of every changing conditions Senna made the dominant Williams FW15Bs of Prost and Damon Hill look average as he took the lead on the opening lap in his McLaren  MP4/8. The slippery conditions were made for a driver of his touch and feel - and made up for the handicap of the Ford engine McLaren were running that year that lacked the power of the Renault unit in the back of the Williams cars.

Popular Articles