British F3 round 7 – Thruxton
2 May 1983.
Qualifying: 1:33.55 (1); 1:14.08 (1).
Grid: Pole position
In the first session, Senna could only beat the existing record by 0.01. It’s a strange statement but true among many strange statements in this book. Everybody, you see, anticipated he’d beat it by a lot more. “The wind is making it impossible to make the car perfect at both the Complex [after the first bend] and the chicane [feeding onto the start-finish straight). That is why we can not get near the record, but (and reportedly he shrugged) it is the same for everyone.” Irene Ambrose sat “in the grandstand to watch qualifying.
He seemed to be taking a different line through the chicane each time, getting wilder and wilder until the little Rait twitched ferociously in protest. After that he became smooth and consistent. ‘What were you doing out there?’ I asked in my innocence. He was sitting on his tyres again, bent over slightly, hands clasped between his knees. ‘Just finding my limits’ he said, smiling.”Senna led although a “cautious” exit from the Complex let Brundle close enough to slipstream throughout the opening lap. Out of Church, a right, Brundle urged himself to side but that left him with the outside line at the chicane still second. Senna drew away at the end of lap 2 and increased the gap.
• Podium: Senna 24m 51.88s, Brundle at 3.40, Jones at 4.07.
• Fastest lap: Senna
• Championship: Senna 68, Brundle 42, Jones 22.