Exactly 26 years ago, Thierry Boutsen and Ayrton Senna stepped on a podium, together, for the last time. It happened at the Hungrian GP, won the Belgian driver. Senna finished the race just 0s288 after the Williams driver, increasing his lead in the standings to 10 points, since Alain Prost didn’t place among the six first drivers. That second-place finish was instrumental in Ayrton’s path towards his second world title.
Despite never being teammates – or maybe because of that – Senna and Boutsen became great friends both in and outside the speedways. The Belgian even got to meet Ayrton’s family and spend some time in his house in Angra dos Reis (RJ).
“He was a very open person in a very private environment. We’ve had a lot of good times; we’ve spent several holidays together, in between races. I was invited a fw times to visit his house in Angra dos Reis with my family and my kids. He was a very funny guy, actually”, said the Belgian in a interview to the Tazio website, in 2013.
On the track, Senna and his friend also shared a lot of happy occasions. Out of Boutsen’s 15 times on the podium, during his career, Senna was next to him in 8 of them. For Senna, the most memorable one took place in the 1988 Japanese GP, when he secured his first world title. The Brazilian won and Boutsen rounded out the podium in third, behind runner-up Alain Prost.
To Boutsen, that 1990 Hungarian GP is undoubtedly one of the most unforgettable moments of his career. It was the only time he won an F1 race from start to finish, fending off Ayrton’s advances for several laps.
“He was exceptional. He was a superlative driver, better than any other. He had that extra skill. I don’t see anyone today with that level of skill. If he raced today, no one would be able to beat him”, said Boutsen.
Check out all the times Senna and Boutsen shared a podium:
Canada 1988 – Senna 1st and Boutsen 3rd
Detroit 1988 – Senna 1st and Boutsen 3rd
Hungary 1988 – Senna 1st and Boutsen 3rd
Japan 1988 – Senna 1st and Boutsen 3rd
Hungary 1989 – Senna 2nd and Boutsen 3rd (win by Mansell)
Phoenix 1990 – Senna 1st and Boutsen 3rd
England 1990 – Boutsen 2nd and Senna 3rd (win by Prost)
Hungary 1990 – Boutsen 1st and Senna 2nd