British F3 round 3 – Silverstone
20 March 1983.
Qualifying: 1:34.74 (1); 1:25.14 (1).
Grid: Pole position
Although Senna had a heavy mid-week accident testing at Snetterton he took provisional pole on a wet Saturday morning. Brundle held it for most of the session but, with only a few minutes left, Senna did the 1:34.74.This was another fundamental tactic: wait, watch, monitor, gauge, bring everything to a climax when your opponent can’t respond to it. He confirmed pole in a dry afternoon session.
Spotting rain forced nearly everyone on to wet tyres for the race. Senna took an immediate lead, Brundle second but into Becketts Senna adopted a cautiously wide line and Brundle went through. They travelled down Hangar Straight close and Senna overtook on the outside at Stowe. Brundle, honest, described the audacity and control of the move as “quite brilliant”. The rain fell heavier by six of the 20 laps. A Finn, Jorma Airaksinen, slithered on the start-finish straight and almost collected Senna, who was lapping him. Senna veered from him.
The race was halted and restarted for a further six laps, aggregate to count. Brundle led to a great patriotic cheer but at Becketts Senna braked particularly late and went outside.”Incredible”, Brundle said. “He had two wheel son the grass but he still kept going”. They emerged, Senna holding the inside for Chapel so that he led down the Hangar Straight. The spray his wheels churned made any overtaking by Brundle beyond the art of the possible, or even probable. On the last lap, Senna’s fire extinguisher bottle exploded (“bloody cold there”). He kept on, as he would and as he did.
• Podium: Senna 19m 36.51s, Brundle at 1.96, Fish at 7.01.
• Fastest lap: Senna.
• Championship: Senna 29, Brundle 19, Jones and Fish 7.