The time spent by Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost at McLaren is the stuff of F1 folklore. It ended up with the Frenchman bagging the 1989 title, but not before a whole mountain of trouble – which came to a head at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Prost had said publicly that he wouldn’t ‘leave the door open’ for Senna to get past. So on lap 46 when Senna made quite a bold dive up the inside at the chicane, Prost kept his word and shut the door, causing both cars to touch and run onto the escape road. Prost retired but Senna carried on and crossed the line first, but in doing so he missed the chicane where the incident occurred and was controversially disqualified (he did miss out the chicane, but drivers had done so at other races and not been punished). Prost ended up as champion …
The footage we’ve found here is from the day before that infamous event, when the pair tackled qualifying. Someone has put together a clip showing both qualifying laps from in-car footage where Senna ended up over 1.7 seconds ahead!
It’s a bit tricky to try and watch both at once – but give it a couple of views and you’ll see where Senna manages to gain an advantage. Bear in mind that Prost was four tenths ahead of Gerhard Berger and you get an impression of just how dominant the McLaren MP4/5 was; the Woking mob’s car ended up with more than double the points of the Williams Renaults that finished behind it in the constructor’s standings.
So, try to train your eyes to focus on two things at once and see if you can work out how and where Senna made up his time.