FEB 09th 2015

Video: How to drive a McLaren MP4/5b around Monaco, with Senna

The 1990 Monaco Grand Prix was vintage stuff for the McLaren/Senna combination, although the start of the 1990 season had not gone according to plan.

Having been startled by new team mate Gerhard Berger and young upstart Jean Alesi at the opening round in America (where the Austrian snatched pole position and Alesi had the temerity to lead early-on), he had to suffer the painful sight of watching Alain Prost claiming the spoils at his home race in Brazil before retiring at San Marino.

Next up was Monaco and, as we can see from this on-board footage, Senna was keen to reassert his authority. The footage here is likely taken from a qualifying lap, in which case it could have been a good one but for an awkward baulking by a Tyrrel at the Swimming Pool (note how aggressively he gets past, by the way! Might it have been Alesi?)

This is Senna at his very finest, and with a camera angle that manages to bring home just how busy an environment the inside of an F1 car was around Monaco. The bumps, the vibration, the proximity of the barriers which also serve to obscure so much of the driver’s view…. Oh and bear in mind also that Senna is selecting his gear ratios using a lever – meaning he’s often piloting the 700+bhp McLaren one-handed.

One wonders if some of the younger current F1 drivers have ever actually changed gears manually?

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