Thereafter Senna took command. Even as the track dried and the lap times plummeted, he kept the underpowered McLaren out front until making his first pitstop on lap 18. Even when the rain came again he stayed on slick tyres, while the pursuing Williams returned to the pits for wets. Senna’s masterclass lifted the spirits of the wet and cold crowd; they realised they were witnessing an historic F1 moment and cheered on the Brazilian to victory.
Senna’s winning margin was 1m23s over Hill, whose runner-up spot was only his second appearance on an F1 podium. Prost, meanwhile, had disappeared from the lead fight after making numerous visits to the pits to change tyres, eventually finishing an uncharacteristically confused third, a lap in arrears.
It had been classic Senna at his combative, never-give-up-best and his obstinately opportunistic opening lap would, quite rightly, enter Formula 1 legend.
European Grand Prix, 1993
1. Ayrton Senna (BR) – McLaren MP4/8-Ford, 76 laps
2. Damon Hill (GB) – Williams FW15C-Renault, 76 laps
3. Alain Prost (F) – Williams FW15C-Renault, 75 laps
4. Johnny Herbert (B) – Lotus 107B-Ford 75 laps
5. Riccardo Patrese (ITA) – Benetton B193B-Ford, 74 laps
6. Fabrizio Barbazza (ITA) – Minardi M193-Ford, 74 laps
Photos courtesy of LAT