The Spanish F1 GP, which takes place this weekend, was the setting of some of Ayrton Senna’s greatest races. The three-time F1 champion won there in 1986 and 1989, at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit, and also scored a second-place finish in Barcelona, during the 1993 season – not to mention his four pole positions in Spanish territory: 1986, 1988, 1989 and 1990. Let’s take a look back at the five greatest moments of Ayrton Senna’s career in Spain:
Senna’s first memorable story in Spain took place at the 1986 GP, when the Lotus driver crossed the finish-line just 0s014 ahead of Nigel Mansell. The final moments of that race are among the three closest finishes in Formula One history. Ayrton kept the lead after taking the pole position the day before, while Mansell tried to overtake him anyway he could, with his Williams. Both drivers crossed the finish-line side by side.
Sena made it look easy at the 1989 GP. He won the pole position after being more than 1 second faster than his greatest rival in the fight for that year’s title, Alain Prost, who started in third place. During the race, Ayrton kept the lead from start to finish, for 73 laps, also posting the race’s quickest lap. The Brazilian finished the race 27 seconds ahead of Berger and 53 seconds ahead of Prost. It was Senn’s 20th win in F1 and his sixth in the 1989 season. Check out the highlights of the race.
Senna holds , to this day, the record for quickest F1 lap ever recorded at Jerez. In 1990, the Brazilian driver took the pole position with his McLaren with a time of 1min18s387 – 0s437 faster than Prost, who started in second place. With that lap, Senna secured his 50th pole position – a feat that was rewarded by McLaren with a cake. Take a look at the lap that gave the Brazilian one of his many records.
Even though Senna won several match-ups against Mansell, the British driver also scored some of his greatest wins after heated disputes against the Brazilian. One of them took place at the 1991 Spanish GP, when both drivers were neck and neck the whole time, shooting sparks along the start-finish lane, in one of the most iconic images of the season. This time, the Britton came out on top, winning the race. But he didn’t win the championship, which went to Senna in the very next race. Check the duel between Senna and Mansell in slow motion.
The 1993 Spanish GP went down in F1 history as the only time Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Michael Schumacher were together on the podium. Driving a vastly superior Wiliams, the Frenchman won the race, while Senna held on to second place without ever being threatened by the German driver.
Earlier this week, we’ve gone over the relationship between those three idols of motor sports.
Senna TV – Memories from Spain
At the end of February, 2017, Senna TV was at the F1 preseason testing, in Spain, and we’ve talked about some of those great stories that had our three-time champion as protagonist .Take a look at the full episode, which features interviews with Ann Bradshaw, who was Lotus’ publicist in 1986; Livio Oricchio, a sports journalist; and Roberto Boccaflgli, Head of Communications for Pirelli.
Ayrton Senna’s stats at the Spanish GP:
8 Grands Prix
4 pole positions
1 Grand Chelem (win from start to finish, pole position and quickest lap)