Ayrton Senna is widely regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all-time, having registered three world championships and 41 race wins in a 10-year career.
The Brazilian’s life was tragically cut short by a crash at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994, at the age of 34. But through his legendary exploits on the track — not least a record six victories at the Monaco Grand Prix. Senna ensured he would live on in the hearts and minds of motorsport fans all over the world. The Sao Paulo native’s achievements are celebrated in the documentary “Senna” .
Monaco Grand Prix 1984.
A 24-year-old Ayrton Senna arrived at the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix as a rookie taking part in only his sixth Formula One race. Senna qualified a lowly 13th on the grid and, in the 31 laps that followed, set about announcing his arrival as a world-class racing driver. The torrential rain which crashed down on the legendary street circuit acted as a leveler for Senna in an un-fancied Toleman car, as he overtook his illustrious opponents at an astonishing rate.
By the time Senna had roared beyond would-be world champion Niki Lauda on lap 19, he had moved into second position and was 24 seconds behind leader Alain Prost of McLaren. The Brazilian was catching his French rival at a rate of three seconds per lap but, with conditions deteriorating, Prost appealed for the race to be stopped. After 31 laps the race was halted, moments before Senna was finally able to pass Prost, and the rising star was forced to settle for second place on the podium.
Senna at Lotus 1985-87
Ayrton Senna moved to the Lotus team at the start of the 1985 season and began to show the form which would help him achieve his future glories. The 24-year-old claimed the first pole position of his career at that year’s Portuguese Grand Prix and followed it up with his maiden race victory.Senna registered a second grand prix triumph in Belgium and began the 1986 season in fine form, defeating Nigel Mansell by one tenth of a second in Spain in one of F1?s closest-ever finishes. The 1987 campaign brought Senna the first of an unequalled six victories at Monaco, and also his second-career triumph at the U.S. Grand Prix in Detroit.
Monaco Grand Prix 1988
Ayrton Senna was in his debut season with McLaren when he once again excelled on the streets of Monte Carlo. The Sao Paulo native was now teammates with Alain Prost, but that did not prevent him out-performing his colleague emphatically in Monaco. Senna claimed a stunning pole position, pushing himself to the limit en route to a lap two seconds faster than the quickest Prost could muster. His imperious form continued into the race as Senna dominated from the front, rampaging through the street circuit to build up a lead of 55 seconds over Prost before sensationally crashing into the barriers on lap 67.
He later claimed his superior speed around the harbor circuit was the result of an outer-body experience beyond his “conscious understanding”, but it was Prost who claimed the checkered flag.
Japanese Grand Prix 1989
In typical style, Senna claimed an emphatic pole position ahead of the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix. The 29-year-old lit up the Suzuka circuit on the Saturday before the race, as he set a time 1.7 seconds faster than his teammate, and fellow title contender, Alain Prost. But it was Prost, already a two-time world champion, who held the edge in the drivers’ standings. He led Senna by 16 points with just two rounds to go in the season and a maximum 18 points left to scrap for. In what was a must-win race, Senna made the worst possible start and Prost overtook the Brazilian straight off the grid. The Brazilian eventually reeled in the race leader and, on lap 46 of 73, made his move on Prost. But, as Senna attempted to pass the Frenchman down the inside of a narrow chicane, Prost refused to back down and the ensuing crash brought both drivers to a halt.
Prost accepted his fate and promptly climbed out of his McLaren, but Senna restarted his car, cut across the chicane and continued to race. The 29-year-old succeeded in overhauling new race leader Alessandro Nannini and looked to have clinched an all-important triumph. But after missing out the chicane following his coming together with his teammate, Senna was disqualified and Prost celebrated a third title success.
Japanese Grand Prix 1990
The following year at the Suzuka circuit Senna proved a Formula One car was not only a racing machine capable of breakneck speed, but also a weapon which could be used to puncture the world championship dreams of a fierce rival. That rival was, once again, Prost. The duo were locked in a bitter battle for the drivers’ title, and Senna was nine points ahead of the Frenchman with two races of the season remaining. The Brazilian claimed pole in qualifying, with the Ferrari of Prost second, but complained his starting position was on the dirty side of the track. Despite Senna’s protests, race officials refused to change the grid layout and Prost leapt to the front of the field straight from the green light. As the pair approached the first corner, Senna positioned his McLaren directly behind Prost and continued to drive in a straight line as his opponent began to turn. The result was a collision which sent both cars hurtling into the gravel and handed the world championship to Senna.
source: © CNN