Ayrton Senna has proven to be the most inconic racing driver of all time. No matter the exploits of anyone who followed him, or evidence of fault in the various incidents that followed his career, that yellow helmet will always draw people in.
Video: Ayrton Senna's first F1 Grand Prix win
Today we’ve decided to share one of his less-famous (but highly significant) Grand Prix wins; his first, at Estoril in 1985. It was also his first pole position. He was to bag six more that year.
The subtext is fascinating. Going into the race the McLaren MP4/2B had been on imperious form, winning the opening round in Brazil and the final seven rounds of the previous season (in ‘A’ specification). Senna was driving in only his second Grand Prix for Lotus having replaced Nigel Mansell, of whom Team Manager Peter Warr famously (and inaccurately) said would ‘never win a Grand Prix as long as I have a hole in my ****’ and Alain Prost was considered by most observers at the time to be the best driver. Oh and it is also understood that prior to Estoril the Lotus 97T, had not been tested in the wet, which is precisely what Estoril was on April 21st, 1985.
Here the great man himself talks us through the race highlights, which we’ll leave for you to see yourselves. Just bear in mind that going in to this race Prost in the McLaren was nothing short of a formidable opponent and that this was se second race for Team Lotus.
‘The champagne had a special taste that day…’ he said. I wonder how much more he thought he'd be drinking as he stood on the top step of the podium?
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