British F3 round 5 – Thruxton
4 April 1983.
Qualifying: 1:13.07 (1); 1:13.80 (3).
Grid: Pole position
Senna had ‘flu and Bennetts wondered about letting him race. “I did not feel good but I was not making mistakes in the car so I felt it was ok. I’m not sure whether I was going as well as I should have done”. In these early years, he measured himself against himself.
He missed second gear at the start. Jones led, Brundle passed Senna too. Senna muscled Brundle outside at Campbell and they crossed the line in a chain, Jones-Senna-Brundle. Into the chicane on lap 2 Brundle tried a move but Senna resisted that and overtook Jones on lap 3.
Irene Ambrose was at the race.”I made my timid way into the West Surrey awning clutching my entrance ticket, the only bit of paper I had. A slight, dark-haired boy [he was 23!] sat on a couple of wheels, smiling at me as I approached. Feeling ludicrously nervous I thrust the ticket at him and asked for his autograph. The smile deepened and as I gazed into those dark brown eyes I thought they looked very old in such a young face. He controlled the race perfectly and, feeling proud, I made my way into the paddock to congratulate him. He was still grinning widely as he shook my hand and thanked me”. If you were an opponent, he was the hardest man in the world to beat. If you weren’t, he was touchingly normal.
Coyne, for example, “joined Ralph Firmin in 1983 to do FF1600. Ayrton, who knew Ralph well, would come across and sit and talk to me, basically trying to help me, and that was nice. The moment you stopped being a threat he was totally different”.
• Podium: Senna 25m 03.29s, Brundle at 01.24,Fish at 22.04.
• Fastest lap: Brundle.
• Championship: Senna 48, Brundle 32, Jones and Hytten 12.