Sunday, November 10, 2013

Last win of Ayrton Senna was 20 years ago, in Adelaide - Australia 1993

TWENTY years ago this week, Ayrton Senna stood on the podium in Adelaide celebrating his 41st Grand Prix victory and his second in Adelaide. Sadly it would also be his last.

Certainly he was a man at the top of his game when Senna embraced long-time - and sometimes bitter - rival Alain Prost on the podium on May 7, 1993.
It was a touching reconciliation, instigated by Senna who hauled Prost onto the podium and hugged him before dousing the Frenchman with champagne.
"The attitude there speaks for itself," Senna said post-race. "It was reflected in my feeling and his feeling, too."

Asked whether the two would now become friends, Prost said, with eerie foresight, "life will tell".

Ayrton Senna arrives in Adelaide, Australia, 1993
The French champion - who was driving his final race after 51 Grand Prix victories and four world championships - had ensured the pair's last duel was a classic.
He had driven a brilliant race, but not quite brilliant enough, with Senna crossing the line 9.6 seconds in front.
Ironically, Senna would take Prost's place at Williams Renault the next year, after six mighty years with McLaren.
Senna, who won three world championships, would have truly enjoyed his second win in Adelaide (his first was in 1991), in a city which, according to former Australian Grand Prix boss Dr Mal Hemmerling "he truly loved".
That city and its people would in turn show their love for the racing champion in 1994, with about 3000 turning up to a memorial service on the Australian Grand Prix starting grid at Victoria Park.
Grand Prix chaplain Father Joe Grealy told the crowd Senna had been a man of "affability and friendliness" who had spent time in St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Wakefield St during his visits to Adelaide.
Dr Hemmerling described Senna as "a person of considerable intellect, depth and charm."
And one who will always have a place in Adelaide's sporting history.

How the race unfolded
As the field lined up on the grid, Senna already looked the man to beat.
He had set the pace, right from qualifying, seizing pole position.
Two aborted starts, with the resultant extra warm-up laps, meant the race was cut by two laps to 79.
Then, in typical form, the Brazilian made the most of his advantage, beating Prost into the first corner, and controlling the race from the front.
Senna would later say that despite his dominant performance, the race had not been easy.
The Advertiser's Bob Jennings and Stuart Innes reported that Senna really had not had a race strategy beforehand, though McLaren had aimed to make just one stop for fresh tyres.
"This strategy went out the window when Senna misunderstood a radio message from the pits; he thought Prost had stopped for tyres and felt if that was the case, he should stop too," they wrote.
Start of the race in Adelaide 1993 - Senna first, then Prost and Hill in the Williams's follow
Senna peeled into the pits after just 23 laps, and said later that when he realised Prost hadn't stopped, he thought to himself "God, now I have to make up the gap, because I thought he would be stopping only once".
As it turned out, most drivers made two stops for tyres, as the warm weather and heavy fuel loads caused them to lose performance early.
"Senna said he had trouble maintaining his lead, and there was no doubt Prost was giving it his all, with his job made more difficult by the pace of (Williams teammate Damon) Hill, who in turn had Benetton driver Michael Schumacher filling his mirrors during the early stages," Jennings and Innes reported.
Prost made his first tyre stop on lap 28.
Ayrton Senna signs autographs for australian fans in 1993
Hill went in for his second tyre change on lap 44, and Prost on lap 48.
On rejoining the race, they started to seriously bring down their lap times.
Despite that, Senna snuck in for a second tyre change after 55 laps, but rejoined before the Williams cars made it past the pits.
It was then the Brazilian really turned up the pressure, setting a new lap record on lap 64 - 1min. 15.381 sec - an average of 180.523km/h.
Four laps later, Hill lost his chance of taking second place, when he was "suckered into a spin by the wily Prost at the end of Brabham Straight."
Prost later described the incident as a "fun moment". It's doubtful Hill - who still nabbed third place - shared his amusement.
But Senna had control and would not surrender it.
Asked later how different the race had been to previous Australian Grands Prix, Senna said: "It's been the best one."
"… with rain, with the dry, very hot, not so hot - it's always been very special, very good. But this one has been the best one; the best result and the best victory, by far."
If only it had not been the last one.

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