Like Fernando Alonso, you could certainly imagine Ayrton Senna having a pop at the Indy 500. Of course, it would have meant missing his beloved Monaco – but it certainly piqued his imagination. Ayrton even tested an IndyCar once during his Formula 1 career – a couple of mysterious exploratory laps in a Penske to test the Stateside waters in late 1992. But his life was cut short before we knew just how serious he was about making the switch.
Still, Indy’s loss was Monaco’s gain, and the Brazilian made the Principality his own personal fiefdom in a way that no other driver has – either before or since.
Senna won six Monaco Grands Prix – more than any other Formula 1 driver – but it is his 1988 race weekend which has invariably garnered the most attention. It was here, driving the formidable McLaren-Honda MP4/4, that Senna out-qualified his team-mate Alain Prost by 1.5s, before being bettered in the race by the Frenchman after he lost concentration, tagged a barrier and crashed into the wall.
Both events are significant: Sunday’s pointless accident forged a new, more focused, less forgiving racing driver, but it was Saturday’s final qualifying session that really created the Senna legend, defining a man of relentless drive and fearlessness who was driven to limits far beyond any of his contemporaries.
In our #RememberSenna video, we lift the lid on the visceral intensity of Formula 1’s all-time greatest lap…