Born in March 21st, 1960; Ayrton Senna is one of the most historic and beloved idols to ever come out of Formula 1. Despite being well known for his amazing skills on track, he also left a huge legacy outside of the racing world. However, we will focus more on the achievements of Senna on the track as they are as exciting as they are numerous.
Senna's first experience on a F1 car was before he even started his career in the category. He had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a Williams F1 racing car at Donington Park, England in 1983, a year before the start of his career. In 1984, he started racing in F1 for Toleman. In the same '84 season, he had his first podium finish in Monaco. Only a year after, he had his first F1 win in April 21, 1985 onboard a Lotus in Portugal. At the 1985 Austrian GP, he had a rough start at the 14th place and still climbed to the podium, securing a second place finish.
He was known to have an affinity for pole-positions and is touted as the King of Pole-Positions; having 24 consecutive first row starts between 1988 and 1989. Almost every time he would start in the first, second or third row; he would end up victorious. The worst he did after a leading start was finishing 5th in Phoenix, USA back in 1990. In the same year, he also had a bet with McLaren's principal Ron Dennis (which he won) and took home his winning McLaren. It is now on display at the Ayrton Senna Institute. He also set the record for most pole-positions at the same circuit (8, at San Marino) while Hamilton and Schumacher are tied with him at other circuits.
Senna was the centerpiece of McLaren's age of glory, being the greatest winner in their history; awarding them with 35 wins. He also has the most pole-positions as a McLaren driver, with 46 out of a total of 65 poles. It also happens that he is the most successful Brazilian driver in F1 with 41 wins, as well as most Brazilian pole-positions at 65.
He has been behind the wheel of 13 different cars over his F1 career : Toleman TG183B, Toleman TG184, Lotus 97T, Lotus 98T, Lotus 99T, McLaren MP4/4, McLaren MP4/5, McLaren MP4/5B, McLaren MP4/6, McLaren MP4/6B, McLaren MP4/7A, McLaren MP4/8, Williams FW16. In the 1991 Brazilian GP, he had problems with his McLaren gearbox and lost all gears but the sixth in the final laps. Despite this, he maintained momentum and speed and won the race.
His favorite track was Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, where he claimed five victories in F1. The circuit where he won the most was Silverstone, 10 times in total spanning across three disciplines (6 in Formula Ford, 3 in British F3 and 1 in F1). Senna is also the reigning supreme champion of Monaco, with 8 podium finishes and 6 wins.
For a pilot who was cut short of his life in such a tragic way, Senna has one of the most illustrious careers in the world of racing and F1. However, he was a great soul and lead a fantastic life outside of the track as well. He loved to play tennis, waterskiing, jetskiing and even going running. Today, his institute lives on to help children get proper education and his legacy lives on. He is remembered for many things, and his racing prowess is just one of them.
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