On April 23rd, 1989, Ayrton Senna raced in the San Marino F1 Grand Prix and achieved a historic feat for Brazil. With his win on that day, at Ímola, the driver secured his country’s 50th win in the category. Besides Ayrton, Emerson Fittipaldi, José Carlos Pace and Nelson Piquet had won in Formula One up until then.
Today, 32 years later, Brazil has no driver on t he starting grid, but Pietro Fittipaldi is a Haas reserve and test driver. In those 32 years, the numbers have doubled: Brazilian drivers have now won 101 times, in total. Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa have put their names in the list of Brazilian winners in F1, with 11 wins each. Senna is the biggest Brazilian winner, with 41 triumphs.
The 50th win, by the way, could have come one month earlier, at the Brazilian GP, which took place at Jacarepaguá, in the opening race of the 1989 season. Ayrton secured the pole in Rio de Janeiro, but had an accident at the start, losing his car’s nose and wasting a lot of time at the pit boxes.
One month later, at Ímola, Senna took the pole once again and, to boot, finished the race 40 seconds ahead of Prost, who came in second. It was also the driver’s first win after becoming world champion for the first time, in 1988. On the podium, Ayrton celebrated a lot, while Prost couldn’t hide his disappointment, not even going through the motions of popping his champagne bottle.
According to the Frenchman, they had agreed not to fight for positions after the first lap. Since the race had two starts, Senna took the lead after overtaking Prost in the second start, which caused a o of friction between the drivers. Their rivalry was heating up, and it would keep going for the rest of the season.
Check out the ranking of Brazilian winners in F1:
1- Ayrton Senna – 41 wins
2- Nelson Piquet – 23 wins
3- Emerson Fittipaldi – 14 wins
4- Rubens Barrichello – 11 wins
4- Felipe Massa – 11 wins
6- José Carlos Pace – 1 wins