One of the most interesting stories surrounding Ayrton Senna’s achievements in F1 took place at the 1990 Italian GP, at Monza, on September 9. Even though the Brazilian was the year’s points leader, McLaren principal Ron Dennis didn’t believe Ayrton could win at Ferrari’s home turf.
Confident he had a chance to break the “curse” of never scoring a win at Monza, Senna decided to wager a bet against Ron: if he won, he’d get the winning car as a gift.
In the end, Senna did much more than what was needed to take the car. Besides winning the race, he secured the pole position, posted the quickest lap and led from start to finish, without being threatened by Alain Prost’s Ferrari, his rival in the fight for the title, who finished in second place.
With that result, Ayrton was 16 points ahead of the Frenchman, four races away from the end of the season. The Brazilian would end up winning his second title after crashing with Prost right after the start at Suzuka, the year’s next-to-last race.
The McLaren MP4/ 5B driven by Senna in 1990 was received by the driver’s family, and is now a part of the Ayrton Senna Institute historical archive.
Check out a video produced in 2020, in a tribute to the 30 years of Senna’s win at Monza: