I get aggressive style from Senna – Hamilton

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Posted on

| Written by

In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says his combative driving style was influenced by watching Ayrton Senna.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Senna – The Genuine Hero (Lewis Hamilton)

“People say I have an aggressive style and sometimes I don’t think that is all just me. I think it’s partly because I watched Ayrton Senna when I was young and I thought: ‘This is how I want to drive when I get the opportunity.’ And I went out there and tried it on the kart track. And my whole approach the racing has developed from there.”

‘Senna would have won far more titles’ (The Telegraph)

Bruno Senna: “It’s fair to assume that Ayrton would have won more world championships, because his Williams car was very competitive for the next few years. Unless something extraordinary had happened, he would have been at the top of the game.”

Drivers attend Senna-Ratzenberger memorial event (F1)

Fernando Alonso: “The only positive thing to come out of the weekend that took Ayrton and Roland Ratzenberger away from us was that, from then on, safety in Formula One improved significantly. In fact, we can say that inside our cars there is something of the legacy of Senna and Raztzenberger, because after that terrible 1994, nothing was ever the same again.”

Old car set-up hampered Lotus (Autosport)

Romain Grosjean:”They [the rulemakers] changed tyres, aerodynamics and power unit and we kept the direction we had last year, which was very good with E21 but didn’t quite work with the E22.”

Sepang considering F1 future as host of Malaysian GP (Crash)

Sepang International Circuit chief executive officer Dato’ Razlan Razali: “We have been given the green light from the government to begin negotiation with F1 management, so we are doing that right now. We have a big meeting coming up in Barcelona to discuss this.”

Senna’s lasting safety legacy (FIA)

“While the safety bar had been significantly raised by the early 1990s, it was the tragic events at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, which led to the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger in qualifying and then the loss of racing legend Aytron Senna the following day, that sparked a new and more intense focus on safety research and it is these improvements that perhaps represent the greatest legacy of Senna and Ratzenberger.”

Good Morning Wales 01/05/2014 (BBC)

I discussed the death of Ayrton Senna in a programme on this programme yesterday morning. You can find the interview at 2hr 54’42.

Paying tribute to a true racing legend (Red Bull)

Daniel Ricciardo: “When I started racing go-karts my dad would always bring him up when it was raining saying, ‘this is your chance to be like Senna, be that rain-master, be that kid’, so that’s what I remember of him – being untouchable in wet conditions where that was the most pure form of driver skill.”

Ayrton Senna’s legacy (ESPN)

“If Roland Ratzenberger’s appalling accident stirred subliminal concern, the death of an icon 24 hours later would send 5,000 volts through the system.”

An interview with Senna: Gerald Donaldson (McLaren)

“He said the worst thing about his profession was having to put up with people he disliked. One of the most prominent on his hate list was FISA president Jean-Marie Balestre whom Ayrton felt was ridiculously biased against him and favoured [Alain] Prost.”

Remembering (Duncan Stephen)

“36 others have died while competing in the Formula One world championship, and few will ever have so many column inches dedicated to them as either Senna or Ratzenberger. But we should remember them all. Because we need to avoid there being a 39th.”



Comment of the day

Many original, heartfelt memories of the traumas of 1994 have been shared here in the past few days. Here’s @SennaNmbr1’s recollection of the San Marino Grand Prix:

Such a sad day. I was 14 and after years of being a Mansell fan all my life, 1993 and his departure to IndyCar forced me to refocus. And Senna’s amazing displays in 1993 stunned me and I was a proper fan. So 1994 and Senna in a Williams was going to be THE year. And due to his points deficit to Schumacher the Imola race was pivotal.

So pivotal that I was lying on my front a couple of feet from the TV for the start of the race. Senna crashed and I was gutted because my new hero was out of the race – but not out of the car. I turned to my dad, an ex kart racer, who had seen fatal crashes over the years. I asked him why he hadn’t got out of the car. “Just unconscious?” The reply came “This is serious. He might be dead.”

Yes, despite hearing about Roland Ratzenberger the previous day the thought simply did not enter my head that Senna would be seriously hurt or even dead. He was just knocked out and would be OK. But as the race unfolded and Steve Rider said he had grave head injures the unthinkable was actually true.

After the race finished I tried to occupy myself, so I played swingball in the garden for the rest of the afternoon. Occasionally I would come in to look at the TV for news updates (no internet in 1994 remember,) until the worst news was confirmed.

I recorded all the grands prix on tape in those days, but I quickly taped over that one with something else because I couldn’t bear to watch it again or even have it as a record.

An unforgettable day and weekend.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Adam Kibbey!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

The news of Senna’s death dominated the covers of most British newspapers on this day 20 years ago, as it was in many other countries around the world.

The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Mail, The Express, The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Star and the (now-defunct) Today all carried images of the crash on their front pages. “Ayrton Senna dies after 190mph crash” read the front of The Times. “Death of a Champion”, others announced.

Images © Daimler/Hoch Zwei, Ferrari/Ercole Colombo

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

90 comments on “I get aggressive style from Senna – Hamilton”

  1. I knew Hamilton would do this. He’s shamelessly “bigging himself up” to say that he is just like his childhood hero. I’m not so much annoyed at the comparison he makes between himself and Senna (despite the blatant gaps in ability and achievement), but more so at his insensitive timing. He has taken the opportunity to draw attention to himself off the back of the anniversary of one of the most tragic events in the sport, and he should be ashamed of himself.

    1. Eurgh.

    2. You make it sound like he came up with that out of the blue, and wasn’t asked about it in an interview. People need to stop jumping to conclusions to vent their hate towards a driver. And the fact you pick out a very small part of a rather nice piece on his views of his hero as a young kid…

      1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
        2nd May 2014, 5:48

        and you make it sound like he is not an idiot and he is! his behavior off track has been always very controversial to say the least. dont have anything against him (in fact i want merc to win), but he is really not the brightest chap…

        1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
          2nd May 2014, 5:50

          sorry, hadnt read the article. jump to quickly into conclusions just because of the title, but still think he is not very centered…

          1. you’re still stupid!

    3. I knew seeing the title this would be the first comment. Go read the article and come back once you have. It’s actually a well written tribute.

      1. Agreed.

        @stigrennfahrer, this isn’t Slashdot – you’re allowed to read the articles before commenting.

      2. Me too, it’s kind of sad that you see pretty much anything from Hamilton and know that it’ll get this kind of response. Conspicuously no remark about Ricciardo sharing his being inspired by Senna too.

    4. Yes, how dare he talk about how Senna, his hero, inspired him to be the driver he is today, on a day when absolutely everyone with any connection to F1 is sharing their thoughts and memories about the man.

      1. Precisely.

      2. Very well put…

    5. What an ugly post. But not surprising. I knew someone would see a way to ruin what was a very well written reflection just because it was Hamilton’s view. Way to ruin the air of respect mate.

    6. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      2nd May 2014, 3:37

      Inb4 anti-hamilton pos-… Oh wait.

      This type of response was 100% predictable.

    7. Well, he never compared himself to Senna’s abilities . He feels he imbibed some of his characteristics after watching him race . Please read the article fully .

    8. @stigrennfahrer
      even if he compared himself to Senna, which he didn’t really do. I would still wholeheartedly agree with him – just like I’d compare Alonso and Vettel to him as well. All 3 are polarising figures in the sport – loved by some and loathed by others. But they all have talent and desire to win in common and sets them a bit apart from others.
      Imagine what the media and random guys on the internet would have to say about Senna nowadays. A great human being with lots of talent, but sometimes his desire to win overshadowed all the positive and brought out a darker and ruthless side. Just read the whole article and read up about Senna and then ask yourself again if it was really out of line.

      1. +1.

        Senna has done things worse than anything Maldonado ever did…

        Being way above average helps his cause anyway :)

        1. @jcost the key difference between the two is that Senna did it knowingly. So his immorality is obviously more prominent, but he clearly had the skill in abundance to avoid clashes, unlike Maldonado.

          1. @vettel1 I think in his days people had higher levels of tolerance because there should not be difference between right and wrong and what Senna and Prost did to each other, for e.g., would not be acceptable these days.

    9. @stigrennfahrer why? What did Lewis do to you? The whole world talks about Senna on May 1! What is wrong in trying to copy someone you admire?

      I really can’t see the devil in Lewis as so many folks are able to see.

    10. I have nothing against Hamilton in general, but I agree with the OP that in places the tone of this tribute is misjudged and too self-aggrandizing. This passage for example:

      A lot of the way I drive today is inspired by the way I saw him drive. People say I have an aggressive style and sometimes I don’t think that is all just me. I think it’s partly because I watched Ayrton Senna when I was young and I thought: “This is how I want to drive when I get the opportunity.” And I went out there and tried it on the kart track. And my whole approach the racing has developed from there.

      There is no need for this — not on the anniversary of the man’s death. Say it at any time during the rest of the year. Now is not the time. Now is the time to talk about a true great of the sport without comparing yourself to him.

      1. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Senna was so much of a hero to Hamilton that he wanted to be like him as a kid. Ham’s comments are entirely appropriate, criticising his approach to pay tribute to Senna is just low. The first comment is sad.

      2. I don’t see the problem.
        It’s true, should he lie because some random internet people don’t think you should say it?
        Everyone who followed Hamilton knows he resembles Ayrton’s style and is bloody good at it!

      3. I don’t see how you can read that as unreasonable unless you don’t know how words work.

        1. It’s a matter of striking the right tone for the anniversary of a death. It’s difficult: there is no official rule book. But I think Hamilton’s management team could have judged this better.

          For example, Obama didn’t use the JFK anniversary last year as an opportunity to draw comparisons between himself and JFK. If he had done so, it would have been perceived as misjudged and self-aggrandizing, even if the comparisons were apt.

          I won’t make any further comments on this. I just wanted to say that the reality here is somewhere in between the overblown OP and the overblown responses to the OP.

          1. Hamilton only drew comparisons as far as saying how Senna influenced his driving. “People say I’m aggressive, I think I learned that from watching Senna”. Had Obama talked about JFK influencing his approach to politics or oratory it would be no different. Hamilton at no point compares himself in terms of talent with Senna- in fact that’s something I don’t think I’ve ever seen him do in any of the many stories which mention both drivers. The responses aren’t overblown here. They are a fair response to somebody who (from the tone of his own post) clearly was in the mood to pin anything on somebody he doesn’t like.

    11. theres a lot of Hamilton bashing here, but I actually think it is fair, not for this particular comment but for others he has made throughout his career, where it is common knowledge that he wants to be the next Senna. he even chose the yellow helmet. I am sure half the drivers in the field looked up to Senna, but none are so vocal about it the way Hamilton is. Of the drivers in the field closest to Sennas driving and personality, I think Sebastian Vettel is the most similar – quick over a single lap, able to dominate races, he has a true ruthless streak, and is highly talkative to the media. To me Hamilton is a more arrogant version of Juan Montoya – both fast- but inconsistent in their career,yet on their day the fastest, and both ballsy at overtaking. Would Senna have been outscored by Button if they were teammates???

      1. Well Hamilton was better out of the two you no how silly it sounds about more points last time i new it meant nothing as Hamilton beat him 2-1. Ham retired from lead three times in 2012 alone. Spain to the back of grid when Pastor won. He came up finished 8th and ahead of his teammate when overtaking is impossible in Barcalona he lapped his teammate in Canada. which is absoloute embarassing when you have no car fault. I could say to you would Ayrton Senna have beaten a 2xwc in his 1st year?. Whatever people say Ham finshed ahead of Alo it is in history he would be WC if he was level he also was way ahead before China so he was not lucky. If Hamilton won two WC and Button won one but because Button scored more points in 201 you would not say it it means nothing.

        Your Vettel comment in hilarious think your stuck in last year mate Webber is no longer Seb’s teammate. It says it all that a 4xWC has so much doubt i bet you a multiple WC has never had the questions asked about Vettel. It has always been that way when Alo and Ham have more respect and have less titles that is damning for me for a WC to be disrespected. Remember 2012 Alo was like these will be big years Foor sebastian as their is alot of doubt in public minds.

        1. Haha you just have to laugh at the clearly pre-programmed anti-Hamilton comments now. The guy gives any racing driver the biggest compliment possible – I drive the way I do because he was like that and was so good at it.. But apparently that’s a bad thing? Hahah these prejudiced fools amuse me

      2. Why can’t Hamilton compare himself to Senna but YOU can compare Seb to Senna? How inconsistent is that?

        You sound very biased my friend.

    12. @stigrennfahrer By the way, if you dislik Hamilton’s fairly standard comments here, I suggest you go and read David Coulthard’s piece on the BBC about Senna. However, I feel as though you wouldn’t have too much of a problem with his words..

      1. @timi I agree — Coulthard’s comments are the most egoistic I have seen from anyone.

        When I started reading Coulthard’s piece I thought it would be along the lines of: “Of course, in a sense I owe my career to Senna because he died and I took his seat… but of course I owe him so much more than just that!”

        In fact it is more along the lines of: “Of course, in a sense I owe my career to Senna because he died and I took his seat… let me now talk a bit more about the start of my F1 career.”

        For Coulthard, this is not the 20th anniversary of a tragedy but the 20th anniversary of his big break. At least he is honest about that!

        However, it’s important to note here that Coulthard’s comments, like Hamilton’s, were ghost-written by Andrew Benson. I think Benson has been mischievous this week, interviewing drivers and then transcribing their comments in a way that makes them sound self-aggrandising.

        1. Exactly. It made for a bad read, and left a seriously sour taste in my mouth. Interesting point you make about Benson, @jonathan189. To me he has always been a bit sly in how he puts words on paper, which is primarily why I try not to read his work, nor “Hamilton’s race weekend columns”. It’s always dangerous giving someone the power to write down your words. You never know what hidden agenda they might have. It just goes to show how easily it is to take someone’s words and frame them in a completely different light.

          I bet DC said a lot of nice stuff about Senna, and then went onto the egotistical speech(which is fair enough), but he probably didn’t expect that part to be quoted. If anything, I imagine it was done in the same way the BBC say the Hamilton comments are done, – in an interview. Therein lies the problem. Benson can then pick and choose what goes into the article. But I imagine this isn’t too dissimilar to journalism and quotes in general.

    13. @stigrennfahrer
      You need to relax mate.
      Lewis is actually better than Senna.

  2. I got my good looks from Senna

  3. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    2nd May 2014, 0:34

    Yesterday the page “fans of Sebastian Vettel” twitted the comment of some famous guy comparing Vettel with Senna… I replied “as much a fan of Senna I am, not this today please”.
    Lewis can be his Nº 1 fan (maybe) but not this today please!

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      2nd May 2014, 0:35

      Ouch, my replay was “as much a fan of Seb I am, not this today please”.
      Senna deserves respect. As Ronald

      1. Why does everyone keep calling him Ronald!! Its Roland!

        1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
          2nd May 2014, 0:47

          Oops, you are right. Ronald is more frequent name than Roland. That’s the thing maybe. (And why is Fernando Alonso quoted as “Fred” by many? Fred is the English version for Federico, not Fernando. “Ferdinand” woould be more logic.

    2. I follow the account but hadn’t seen that tweet – I concur, there’s a time to be mindful and I do feel drivers should just refuse to answer such questions.

      After all, the frequently used argument of journalists posing the questions doesn’t excuse the fact they are well within their rights to simply decline to comment: if the media wants to be morally abject, let it, but don’t get engulfed.

    3. I just don’t get this. He doesn’t compare himself talent-wise, he talks about how Senna inspired and influenced him. That’s in line with just about every other tribute we’ve heard or will ever hear about any deceased driver made by any driver, but when Hamilton talks about it it’s distasteful?! Absolute nonsense. Can you even vaguely explain your reason for thinking this? Because I can’t even begin to see where you’re coming from.

      There were plenty of comments on this very site in the same vein as Hamilton’s- saying that Senna was their inspiration for following the sport and that he shaped their attitude to it. The only difference I can see is that they didn’t become racing drivers. But none of those tributes had somebody telling them how distasteful their heartfelt sentiments were.

      My response is the same to the comment at the top of the page, but with that one I couldn’t be bothered to give a proper response to a comment where the commenter was clearly just dying to pin anything on Hamilton.

      1. @matt90 I was making a general, all-encompassing point, as it seems to be a frequent debate on the site which arises and which I felt the need to contribute my opinion to.

        Incidentally, I didn’t think much of it – I was more concerned over the fact that it reminded me of a previous quote of his where he seemingly patronised Sebastian Vettel’s driving standards. His apparent “boastfulness” was never really a thought.

        1. @vettel1 That’s fair enough. My comment was mainly a reply to Omar, but spurred by the foolish top comment.

          1. Ah, I see – sorry for the misinterpretation @matt90 :P

      2. My reply appears to have fallen afoul of the moderators @matt90 – hopefully it will be displayed shortly and my perspective clarified.

      3. any deceased driver made by any driver

        Or musicians and musicians, dead or alive.

      4. @matt90


        If it’s Ricciardo it’s OK…

  4. Reading COTD brought all those feelings back, and a tear to my eye. I was also 14 at the time, and lived in Adelaide (still do). Back then, I was living only a 10 minute drive from the track, and on a peaceful Saturday or Sunday morning, I could the F1 cars clear as day doing laps for practice or Sunday morning warm up. This would give me chills, to hear that amazing sound from so far away.
    Whenever I could, I would catch F1 live, however with many races, I would miss out on the race if needing to be up for school the next day (due to them being on later at night here). So the morning news was my ritual to find out the results of a race, and this is how I followed F1 most of the time.
    Sunday morning here of that race weekend I was shocked to see the news report and Ratzenberger’s crash. Some talk on sports TV programs talking about the crashes that weekend, and the sad loss of a driver.
    I was really wanting to see the race, as I was keen on Senna taking the win, and making a charge for the 1994 championship. I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t.
    I woke that Monday morning, feeling different, not excited to find out the race results, I don’t know if it was because of the news the day before and I was worried, or if I just had this strange feeling in my gut that something terrible had happened. Mum comes into my room, and as strange as it seems, I almost knew what she was about to say. She knew how I would feel, and I could see it written all over her face.
    I will never forget that moment, how upset I was, and didn’t want it to be true.
    Senna touched the hearts of many around the world, beyond the legend racing driver, he was a remarkable man.

  5. I wasn’t even born at the time of Senna’s death. In fact, I could only begin to appreciate his achievements by the time Schumacher was rolling in the spoils of his unparalleled success. So my first lasting impression of Formula One has always been the red car and the red helmet.

    But now, the resonant image is not the red car. It’s the white and red car. Why the change? Largely because of the Senna movie which – despite it’s flaws in portraying Prost as an antagonist, which wasn’t strictly true – and the brilliant archive footage it presented. But mainly due to the fact that despite Schumacher’s unparalleled, profoundly annihilative domination, Senna remains the yardstick with which all great drivers of the modern era are measured.

    Statistics have their flaws. If I had merely analysed the raw data, the obvious conclusion is that Schuamcher is categorically the greatest driver in the history of Formula One. And all credit to the man, that is an accolade he could justifiably merit. But if one is selective, looking past the raw numerical data and delving into its symbolic significance, to me there is almost no question of who possessed the greatest innate ability.

    And he donned the yellow helmet in his white and red car.

    1. I never saw Prost portrayed as the antagonist. It showed him as somebody who knew how to play the political game, certainly. And it suggested he was at fault for the Suzuka 1989 collision- which, given the aerial footage, I agree with entirely. But I didn’t feel like he was generally made out to be a bad guy- just a great rival. Balestre was the villain of the piece for me.

      1. I never saw Prost portrayed as the antagonist.

        @matt90 If you’ve got the dvd/bluray, check out the extended commentary version where it becomes more of a documentary, it is interesting the edits they picked when they have the interview with Prost. @vettel1 isn’t too far off the mark by stating that the movie portrayed Prost as the antagonist. The doco was 100% Senna centric, so to think they had a balanced view on the clashes between Prost and Senna is probably a little hard to believe.

      2. I can agree that Balestre came off as the villain in “Senna.” Especially after Monaco 1984. I actually felt a palpable dislike for him, just because of that one instance.

    2. I was born two years before his death but f1 was not in my home at that time . Same here . The first car I followed was the Schumi years of domination and Mika Hakkinen or Montoya charging behind and challenging. I knew there was a guy called Senna who was the last fatality in f1. The movie and the Top Gear tribute was the reason I knew of his tremendous ability . Then I began searching and watching older clips a lot especially the Lotus ones where it would be clearly evident that HE was the reason that the car finished in the places it did . Again one can’t stop but ponder what he would have achieved had he lived more .

  6. “People can relate to F1 purely because of the noise. I am not sure too much about the technical side of things – if you go to a fan and say this is a hybrid F1 car, does that interest them? I am not so sure. They are there purely for the sound and the spectacle”

    A typical comment from a typical priviliged Asian businessman. He underestimates the fans, there are plenty of proper race fans in Malaysia, for both F1 and Moto GP, the latter with a much larger following. People who dont like racing, typically dont end up going to the races.

    1. Yeah, if that was really the case he may as well push for a spec series.

    2. @jaymenon10, I agree entirely with the point you make but it is worthwhile pointing out that it was Bernie himself who opened this avenue of negotiation, any promoter/businessman not trying it on would be failing in his duty.

    3. Yeah, nobody watched F1 in the I4 years so they weren’t upset when Jim Clarck died……….

  7. Rest in peace Champion.

  8. Pretty amazing tributes to Senna today. “He felt compelled to put every ounce of his being into his driving – into life itself”

    I don’t think the 20th anniversary of Jean-Marie Balestre’s passing will be quite so well commemorated.

  9. May 1st is by far one of the saddest days and not long ago I wrote something on my facebook about wondering why some people are gone at such young age. At the moment I was thinking about my dad, killed at 46 on a failed carjacking (dad pulled out his piece aswell) but in general I came to the conclusion that maybe it´s just God´s plan. Some people are just too awesome to grow old and have them die a stupid death (cancer, getting hit by a car, slipping and falling, etc.) so he takes them away in their prime for us to remember and cherish those persons a lot more.
    Ayrton is also a perfect example… To us, or at least me in particular, besides his death being poetic, I will never ever see another driver without comparing him to Senna. He definitely is what any driver wishes he could be like. He is definitely the yardstick to any driver in our time and why? Because even in his short career, he accomplished more, and more righteously than any other driver has. In a time were the driver made the difference, he will ALWAYS stand out and make us wonder… what would have been had he not died? How many championships might he have racked up? I guess we will never know but one thing is for certain…. I was blessed to have seen some of his races live on TV and stand awestruck by such greatness!
    R.I.P. Champ!

  10. Senna was a great driver of all time and as an immortal he lives in our memories for many years to come. Aryton is the most spoken about F1 driver in history. No one came close to him, honestly. God bless Aryton Senna wherever he may be. And also to those who have died in the name of Formula One, Jim Clark comes to mind immediately.

  11. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    2nd May 2014, 3:41

    That Corinthians football club photo is just awesome.

  12. I love that foto of Fernando and Kimi – it’s Men In Black (with red ties).

    1. What is it with the red ties? Is it the 1990’s Marlboro look? Or because everyone is thinking of Ferrari? I would really like to know.

      1. @pjsqueak When you drive the red car you wear the red tie.

  13. I dunno how you can compare Seb with Ayrton (Schumi MAYBE) but Senna was better at what they all do combined and then some. Senna had balls, way more than some of the drivers of today (not saying all of them are wooses, but Senna had A LOT more talent). But even Micheal said himself that Ayrton was miles ahead of him. And Lewis copying his driving style. Who cares, it is a good representation of how much of on influence he made, not only on the world, but the F1 community.

  14. Great COTD, @SennaNmbr1. There are many parallels for me regarding that day. I was also 14 at the time, and was generally a Alesi/Ferrari fan. In the late 80’s seasons, the Senna/McLaren combo just seemed so indomitable to me, but in the 1992, 1993 seasons, seeing Senna struggle made me respect him a lot more, and had started to root for Senna to win again in 1994.

    I had seen a news clip on MTV the day before the race about Roland Ratzenberger, and I couldn’t believe that a modern F1 driver could still die. I had heard from my Dad about racers like Gilles Villeneuve dying, but it seemed like ancient history to me at the time.

    I was also watching the race that day, here in the US, and couldn’t believe that Senna could be majorly hurt, and although I had that ominous feeling, I didn’t think that he had died. I also though he was somehow OK.

    After the race, I remember also trying to occupy myself with other things, waiting for some kind of update. Since Formula 1 news was hard to come by, I couldn’t find out that day, and found out the next day at school from one of the only other kids who even knew that F1 existed. I was obviously upset, and that stayed with me.

    I also used to tape every F1 race back then, and did not hesitate to tape over that race. I stopped watching F1 for a while after that.

    I’m amazed how much this still upsets me all these years later.

  15. Time to reflect, Senna was to me, the best driver I ever saw, ruthless..yes, self serving ..absolutely…did I love watching him drive….yes yes yes.
    I cried after I saw the crash, like so many with sublime talent, he went too soon. So many dreams unfinished and so many races never to be run. The growing rivalry with Schumacher would I believe have matched if not eclipsed that with Prost.
    The legacy is of course, safety, thankfully no more F1 drivers have died since, but that is but for the grace of whichever God you follow, we have sadly lost those people we take for granted, Marshalls. (I was in Canada, so sad)
    Wouldn’t be right not to mention Roland, Imola, get a small memorial or a plaque, he also played his part in making our sport a safer place.
    Continue to RIP to two true racers and for me, Aryton Senna, the best ever.

  16. Lewis didn’t get his clean style from Senna, to his great credit. In a wheel-to-wheel race like Bahrain, I suspect Ayrton would have had Nico off the track.

    Did Corinthians keep their helmets on? Would have been like Japanese binocular football…

    1. I disagree. It seems to me LH and NR are getting along well and do not have politics interfering with their efforts right now either from within the team or from Todt, unlike Balestre. I think Senna would have relished such a rivalry and been respectful of NR under the same circumstances.

      1. I think Senna would have relished such a rivalry and been respectful of NR under the same circumstances.

        Yeeeeah. The same man who blocked Derek Warwick moving to Lotus and is responsible for Suzuka 1990 would have relished a fair competition. Fo’ sure.

  17. I think it’s very difficult to compare any driver to Senna really, or that of any great champion. Yes there are some drivers on the grid that remind me a bit of some others in the way they drive, or how they act off track, but a full on comparison is difficult. I think a lot of drivers are influenced by not one, but several drivers too. I think the fact that Senna influenced a lot of people with his aggression is good. And I can’t blame them. When I play on the games and I’m either trying to do an awesome last-minute qualifying lap, or when it’s wet and your car is not as strong as others, you just want to go into full on ‘Senna-mode’. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a Schumacher mode where you pull off an unlikely victory buy using strategy to your advantage or a Clark mode where you tear through the field after a puncture, but how Senna drove was just perhaps even better to watch.

  18. @SennaNmbr1 I am only a couple years older than yourself, so can also share in the bit of innocence of being so young seeing something like that unfold. Although, my father didn’t respond to me, when I pointed out that Senna’s head moved. In fact I noticed my father and mother looking at each other on the couch and it got awkward. It was at that point I had worked out, that maybe it was one of the last movements I would ever see from Senna, and it was. My father then made some comment about medical staff are at the scene and he’s in the best care possible, but even after the restart and the unfolding laps, and the fact that my favourite driver was winning the race, one of the most poignant memories of the race I have is when Murray Walker’s voice became very subdued and very somber as the race drew on, it was one of the rare times that I think Murray was lost for words.

  19. I think that every pilot nowadays tend to watch and get inspire with the legends of the past.
    I watch Ayrton race and he was really agressive, I’m not a Hamilton fan, but waching know Donington Park in 93, that first lap, and i’m not seeing anyone today be able to do that…i’m sorry…

  20. @Jonathan189
    I take it you have not done ANY kind of sport at competitive level? Because if you have, you would know that sportsmen generally model themselves along their heroes; imbibing the qualities they feel made the great.
    It is open information that Senna has always been Lewis’s hero and he modeled his driving style on him. Moreover, the comment was not even made today – It was made in an interview last early this week and he was asked the question. What should he do? Deny something that has been part of him since he started racing competitively?
    How many 9yr old go off to a quite place to cry when their hero dies?

    Stop allowing your prejudices to shine through. It is ok not to like someone, but viewing their statements though the lens of prejudice is not right.

    1. I think you are missing the point here. I am not doubting that Hamilton was indeed inspired and influenced by Senna.

      I do think, however, that Hamilton made a misjudgement in using the anniversary of Senna’s death to emphasise the similarities between his driving style and Senna’s.

      To be totally clear, I’m sure the comment was well-intentioned and that Hamilton did not intend it to come across as self-aggrandising. The journalist who ghost-wrote the statement (Andrew Benson, it turns out) is more responsible for this than Hamilton himself.

      I don’t know where the accusation of ‘prejudice’ is coming from. I emphasised that I have nothing against Hamilton in general and quoted the specific passage I thought was misjudged. It’s possible to like and admire someone — and I do like and admire Hamilton — and yet dislike a particular quotation that has been attributed to them.

      1. @Jonathan189
        A point well elucidated. However, i disagree with your premise stating his comments were self aggrandising; and there is no misjudgement either. He was giving an interview and he pointed out how Senna influenced him as a young racer. This is a very appropriate comment in my opinion – given the circumstances.
        His comments are no better, or worse than Ricciardo; and i haven’t noticed you getting your knickers into a twist about that.
        I understand it is indeed your right to find his comments inappropriate, but methinks you are a wee bit oversensitive and judgmental on this particular issue.

  21. As great as Senna was IMO he’s not in Hamilton’s league at wheel to wheel racing, overtaking and defending, undoubtably quicker though compared to his peers.

    1. So you’re saying that Hamilton is better than Senna? Is that it?

      1. I’m saying Senna’s speed was head and shoulders above his peers, yes I could live with Hamilton being the better overtaker and defender.

    2. Hamilton isn’t always good at wheel to wheel, just look at 2010 lol. I bet Senna woulnt have had the bad tyre management Hamilton had in 2011 to 2013, and wouldn’t have fluffed the championship in 07 and 10 the way Hamilton did, and nearly did I 08

      1. Hamilton has been an exceptional wheel to wheel throughout his racing career, I think you meant to say 2011 when he had a bad patch.

        You’re dreaming again and talking rubbish, Hamilton was brilliant in 2007 and 2012, the cars and the team cost him the title in those two years.

        How the hell did he nearly blow the 2008 title?? Anyway it’s better than winning the 1990 title by blatantly cheating!!

  22. The funniest thing is that, for the all the criticism leveled at Lewis, he is the closest thing to Senna we have on the grid today; and there is no better time to acknowledge that than on the anniversary of the man’s death.
    If anyone drives today EXACTLY as Senna drove in those days, they would be banned for life in a heartbeat!

    1. in your dreams… he is nothing like Senna. Hamilton is 09 didn’t drive the McLaren the way Senna did the Toleman in his early days. the only senna like performance was Silverstone in the rain in 2008 I think it was.

      1. How the hell can you compare drivers in different cars in different eras??

        Let’s face it Hamilton is racing against a way higher standard of drivers than Senna ever did barring a few.

      2. Why can’t people read a comment properly before replying? If he is “nothing” like Senna, then you should simply tell us who is – amongst all the drivers today.
        Saying Lewis is the driver closest to Senna (in driving style) does not mean he is as good as Senna. That is a different issue altogether.

  23. Romain, the E22 doesn’t really look like the E21… but I can’t argue with the fact that the loss of the exhaust aero performance rendered some driving styles useless.

Comments are closed.