AYRTON SENNA has his name etched alongside four different all-time records in the Formula One history books.
However, there is one achievement by the Brazilian which you won’t see officially recognised, and that is the greatest single opening lap of an F1 Grand Prix.
While that may be a subjective call, it is widely accepted that Senna’s efforts in the opening lap of the British Grand Prix at Donington in 1993 is the best history has seen.
Qualifying for the British Grand Prix had run under dry conditions that year, and Senna could only manage fourth on the grid, behind the Williams-Renaults of Alain Prost and Damon Hill, and the Benetton-Ford of Michael Schumacher.
McLaren switched to Ford power for the 1993 Grand Prix season, and Senna’s once dominant car was outgunned by his rivals – namely former teammate and staunch opponent Alain Prost.
In typical British fashion, the dry conditions of Saturday made way for rain and drizzle come race day. This played into Senna’s hand, who was a driver known for his skills in the wet. However, Prost was also adept at racing when conditions worsened.
At the drop of the flag, Senna lost another position, dropping to fifth. But then he dug deep and completed one of the most awe inspiring laps ever completed in an F1 car.
The Brazilian carved his way past the first four drivers with ease, passing around the outside in the wet, making it look easy. Before chasing down Prost, and dispatching him with pleasure.
Senna would go on to win the race, thanks to a brave strategy of staying out on slicks in wet conditions while his rivals continued to pit to change tyres.
Oh, and for those that are curious about Senna’s official records. He is currently recognised for the most consecutive wins at the same Grand Prix (five, Monaco ’89-’93), most consecutive pole positions (eight), most pole positions pole positions at the same Grand Prix (eight, San Marino ’84-’94), and most races where he led every single lap (19).
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