The practice sessions for the 1992 Belgian GP were marked by an event that went down in motor sports history: Erik Comas, Ligier’s French driver, crashed hard at the Belanchmont corner and his car ended up in the middle of the track, at Spa-Francorchamps. Since Ayrton Senna was passing through, he stopped his car and ran over to help his colleague. Upon noticing Comas had passed out, but still had his foot on the throttle, Ayrton immediately turned the Ligier’s engine off.
After Senna administered first aid, the marshals and the medical team arrived at the scene. But Erik himself believes the Brazilian was instrumental in preventing something more serious from happening. “He turned off the car’s ignition, avoiding an explosion. At that moment, Ayrton Senna saved my life”, said Comas.
The episode – which took place on August 28, on a free practice Friday – even inspired a special Allianz Insurance video, released in 2015, to celebrate Ayrton Senna’s 55th birthday.
Since he was recovering at the hospital, Comas didn’t race in Belgium, but he was back on the track for the following race, at Monza. At Spa-Francorchamps, Senna secured the second spot on the starting grid and even led the race for a while. McLaren had adopted a bold strategy, by not changing the slick tires for wet ones, and Ayrton drove brilliantly, holding his opponents back, but he steadily lost performance because the track took too long to dry up. Ayrton finished the race in fifth place, while Michael Schumacher celebrated his first F1 win, driving a Benetton.
Considering the way the weekend had started, those two points won by Senna didn’t mean much, compared to the bravery he showed in helping a fellow driver in trouble.
In May 2020, artist Daniela Montesano drew this remarkable moment in F1