Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 May 2019

Ayrton Senna: 25 memorable moments from the F1 legend's racing career

Wednesday will mark 25 years since the Brazilian three-time Formula One world champion's death at Imola

Wednesday will mark 25 years since three-time Formula One world champion Ayrton Senna's death.

The Brazilian succumbed to head injuries suffered from a crash at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola.

Ahead of the anniversary of his death here is a look at 25 memorable moments from his F1 career.

1. Beating Mansell at Monaco

Senna won six times in Monte Carlo, still a record. But this victory was his most memorable in the principality. Senna somehow kept Nigel Mansell behind him in the closing laps despite being in a slower car and on much older tyres. It is notoriously hard to pass on the streets of Monaco, but Senna produced a masterclass in how to fend off a quicker car.

2. Fifth to first in one lap at Donington Park

One of the great laps in F1 history. Senna was fifth going into the first corner in damp conditions at the European Grand Prix at Donington Park in England. Yet by the end of the lap he was leading, passing Karl Wendlinger, Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill and Alain Prost. A special effort and he would go on to win at a canter.

3. Winning in Brazil

It took eight attempts for Senna to win in front of his home crowd. He finally achieved it in 1991, in Sao Paulo, but it took a heroic effort. His McLaren became jammed in one gear in the closing laps and the Brazilian suffered severe cramp in both his shoulders as he manhandled his ailing car to the finish line, needing medical attention post-race.

4. Colliding with Prost in Japan

Senna would later admit that he drove into Prost deliberately at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix in 1990. An act that took them both out of the race and gave the Brazilian his second world title. It was dangerous, irresponsible and reckless, but it also showed his willingness to do almost anything to win. Something that would inspire future generations.

5. Suzuka comeback

Senna dropped to 14th at the start of the 1988 Japanese Grand Prix, having started on pole. But he kept his cool and worked his way back to the front to give himself a victory that also sealed his first world title.

6. The first win in Portugal

The first of Senna's 41 grands prix victories came at Portugal in 1985 in heavy rain. To put his dominance into perspective: only one driver was on the same lap at him at the finish in Estoril. A class apart in his Lotus.

7. Hitting Irvine in Japan

Japan 1993 was pretty spectacular work, even by Senna's standards. He won a thriller at Suzuka in the wet against his arch-rival Prost. Senna then punched F1 debutant Eddie Irvine in an argument after the race. The Irishman's perceived crime? Overtaking Senna to unlap himself during the race.

8. Getting a lift home with Mansell

Senna ran out of fuel on the last lap of the British Grand Prix in 1991. Race winner Mansell stopped on his slow-down circuit and picked up Senna, who sat on one of the side-pods as the Williams drove back to the pits. A nice moment that showed the respect between the pair.

9. Monte Carlo damp squib

Senna put in an impressive first race in Monte Carlo in his rookie year. Was catching Prost in the unheralded Toleman car when the race was controversially stopped because it was too wet.

10. Close finish in Spain

One of the greatest finishes to an F1 race as Senna held off a charging Mansell by just 0.014 seconds in Jerez in the second race of 1986.

11. Being a team player in Japan

Senna was as ruthless as they come. But even he recognised the help Gerhard Berger had been to him as teammate at McLaren. With his third F1 world title already secured, Senna pulled over to allow his Austrian teammate through to win in Suzuka in 1991.

12. Taking on Schumacher

Senna spun out while chasing Schumacher at the Brazilian Grand Prix in 1994. But what that doesn't tell you was he was only five seconds behind at the time, in a badly handling car, with no-one else within a lap of him or the leader as he pushed himself beyond the limit to try tp win.

13. The last pole

Senna died while leading the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994. He had been at the front thanks to a typically sensational pole position lap at Imola in an ill-handling Williams that was not the fastest car in the field.

14. Tussling with Alesi

Senna was always a good wheel-to-wheel racer and his two-lap battle around the streets of Phoenix at the 1990 United States GP with Jean Alesi provided a reminder of just how good he was.

15. Tactical row with Schumacher

Senna never shied away from an argument. He was furious at being taken out of the French Grand Prix in 1992 by Schumacher on Lap 1. The race was later stopped and Schumacher was admonished on the grid by Senna, now in plain clothes and out of his race overalls. Schumacher subsequently crashed at the restart. Coincidence or not, Senna had made his point.

16. Pole for Donnelly

There were horrific scenes at the 1990 Spanish Grand Prix when Martin Donnelly crashed his Lotus and was left badly hurt. Senna went to the crash site to take in the scene. Still shaken up. He then went out and set the fastest time to take pole position, showing his ability to compartmentalise when it comes to racing.

17. Qualifying in Monaco

Senna took pole by 1.4 seconds from McLaren teammate Prost in Monaco in 1988. Prost was a double world champion at the time, yet in the same machinery Senna blew him away with one of the great qualifying laps in the sport’s history.

18. Winning F1's shortest race

Senna liked driving in the rain but even he had his limits. Heavy rain drenched Adelaide in 1991 for the Australian Grand Prix. Senna led but was furious to be racing in such dangerous conditions and waved at marshals before the event was red flagged and stopped after only 14 laps.

19. Clashing with Prost in Germany

Senna v Prost is one of F1's great rivalries. It didn't always have to be about world titles or wins. They fell out after a clash for fourth place in Germany in 1991, with Prost accusing Senna of deliberately running him off the road.

20. Victory after three starts in Belgium

Belgium proved chaotic in 1990 with crashes forcing the race to be stopped twice. But Senna kept cool, converted pole into the lead at all three starts and produced a dominant drive to win.

21. Ruthless at San Marino

Senna broke an apparent team agreement with McLaren teammate Prost to not overtake at the start of the San Marino Grand Prix. Senna did pass and went on to win. It again showed Senna's determination to win at all costs.

22. Dominant in Detroit

Senna did not often have the fastest F1 package in his early years but he showed his potential by taking Lotus to two successive wins at Detroit in 1986 and 1987.

23. Reigning in the rain in Britain

Senna only won the British Grand Prix once in his career, in 1988. It was a brilliant effort too as he outclassed the field in the rain to win, having started third.

24. Winning in Australia

This was Senna's final F1 victory. He led from start to finish and it was pretty unremarkable. But he hugged Prost post-race, a sign their bitter rivalry was over, and it would be the last time either of them would stand on an F1 podium. The true end of an era.

25. Wheel-to-wheel with Mansell

One of the great visual moments in F1 history saw Senna wheel-to-wheel on the main straight in Barcelona 1991 with Mansell, their tyres inches apart. It showed the skill of both drivers. Mansell came out on top that day but Senna played his part.

Updated: April 30, 2019 01:23 PM

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