Senna vs Prost

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    I was surprised there was no thread for this, so I decided to make one. Which one of these two legends was the better driver and why? And please, stay polite ;-)

    Broc Smith

    Two almost equal drivers with two completely different driving styles. Both were out of this world, but i’d have to give the edge to Senna purely based on the fact that his stats (if he had lived) would be untouched by no other driver, except mabye Vettel in 10 years. Both drivers were definitely all time greats though.

    Lucas Wilson

    Interestingly, the legend that he is, Murray Walker, has said that he thinks Prost is better than his Senna-ness.


    I think Prost was better than Senna.

    I didn’t follow F1 when they had their most famous fights (well, I wasn’t even born then) but watching the stats, Prost out-scored Senna as his team-mate in both 88 and 89, and he was also able to take the WDC-fight up to the second last round in 1990, despite that Ferrari being much worse than Mclaren. And finally, Prost has won the championship with clearly inferior car, something that Senna never did.

    They were both great drivers. Senna was obviously the better qualifier, but Prost was better driver overall IMO. I have always found it a bit strange how the common opinion seems to be that Senna was definitely the better driver.

    Lucas Wilson

    No wonder senna hated him. Nice to know they made up before his death :-)


    Prost. I wasn’t a fan of Senna’s racing ethics (for want of a better term) and Senna was ridiculously quick but often made mistakes in the race. Prost was quick, would do the extra bit of work on Sunday due to sacrificing qualifying pace and rarely made mistakes.
    There are a couple of things I find odd about how fans view racers though (not that I’m any better) and it stems back to these two –
    1) Prost was always seen as boring yet Senna would sprint off into the distance while Prost would charge through the field.
    2) Vettel is labelled as boring and a dull racer despite the fact he’s very much like Senna in banging out the quali laps and then leading the race.
    3) Everyone loved McLaren constantly winning everything yet regularly complain now when one team dominates (fair enough that in recent years it has often been one driver who dominates but still…)


    I have always preferred Prost. Not sure as to why, as they both retired before I was born, but I thought Prost was the more complete driver. Also, I prefer the Professor’s approach to racing to Senna’s, and probably the fact Alain drove for Ferrari helped me to pick out one of the two.


    Senna. Just let’s put their stats into context:
    (All the stats i want to mention are in the order Senna / Prost)
    – 1st victory: Both at 2nd season (tied)
    – 1st championship at: 5th season (1988 – beating 2 WDC Prost)/ 6th season (1985 – over Alboretto)
    – Victories as teammates: 14 for Senna / 11 for Prost
    – victories / starts: Senna: 41v/161s = 0.2546 / Prost: 51v/202s=0.2524
    – Poles: 65 /33
    Dirty games:
    1989: Senna got DSQ in Japan (most experts say Balestre wanted Prost to be the champion for nationality reasons) and Prost became champion. (If only a penalty time had been applied, the current tally of championships would be 4 for Senna and 3 for Prost)

    in 1990 Senna crashes into Prost, ensuring the WDC for himself.

    That’s all i have to say

    Loup Garou

    I started out as a Prost fan, shifted to Senna in 1989 and remained so till his death. But with rolling years I have come to like both of them and be able to look at them impartially.

    Prost was the more complete driver while Senna could risk to unbelievable heights at times but not be able to maintain that level always. Prost almost never made unforced errors while Senna occasionally did. Prost had consistency while Senna’s strength was his flair.

    Overall IMO, Prost just edges Senna.


    Senna was dq from suzuka 89 because he was roll started to rejoin the race, which was prohibited in the regs. The senna docco paints prost as the villain, which has led to lots of people believing senna was better. I rate prost above senna, simply from watching their performances. Senna was quicker on his day, but took far too many risks and often crashed into other drivers and barriers. Prost was more careful, and was very professional. I liked them both, they were polar opposites, which was great for the sport. But in hindsight, Prost had the edge.

    Max Jacobson

    I’m with Senna, and I shall explain in greater detail.

    Whilst they were partnered at McLaren, you have a very strong argument for saying Prost was better (more consistent and hence more points). However, that is assuming that those were each drivers best seasons, which I don’t think was true. Senna was very, very good in 1991 and 1993 I think: he started to mature a lot, becoming a much more calculated racer as well as losing none of his mesmerising qualifying speed.

    When he progressed to Williams, he really showed just how good he was at qualifying. 3 poles, despite the fact the car was an absolute b**** to drive – very fast, but incredibly skittish. Had the events of San Marino 1994 not transpired, I’m almost certain Senna would have recovered to win the 1994 title – he was comfortably better than Damon Hill.

    That would probably have led him to stay at Williams, in which case the 1996/7 titles would definitely have been on a plate. Perhaps even 1995, on the basis of how good he was in 1993 at keeping fairly well in touch with Prost in the clearly superior car.

    The speculation of course is very prominent in a lot of my latter claims, but I think Senna was the better driver. His qualifying speed in particular is completely unmatched – he is absolutely unbelievable to watch from on boards!


    @omarr-pepper Even if Senna had not been disqualified from Suzuka he still would not have been champion in 1989. I’ve seen so many people make this assumption, and the movie Senna does not help as it makes it look as though Senna was robbed by Balestre. He needed to win Japan and Australia, with Prost not scoring many points in either race. And even if the win in Suzuka had stood he then went and crashed into the back of Brundle in Adelaide. Either way Prost would have been champion.

    Prost I think is underrated, particulary as a lot off people consider Senna the greatest driver ever, with Prost always overshadowed. A bit more luck and he could conceivably have been a 8 or 9 time world champion. However personally I rank Senna more highly in my all time rankings (Senna at number 2, Prost at 3) with not much between them. Senna was sensationally quick, probably the best qualifier of all time, he took more victories in their time together as teammates and although he made more mistakes he also had poorer reliability during 88 and 89, particularly in 1989. Prost played the percentages a bit more, whilst also being an incredibly quick driver but overall I feel Senna is slightly stronger. People always mention Prost scored more points in their time together as teammates both seasons, but the fact is Senna played the rules as they were back then with the 11 best scores rule in effect, which rewarded victories more.

    On a side note @vettel1 I don’t think you can say Senna would have won 94. There are too many variables up in the air, namely the punishments handed out to Schumacher and Benetton by the FIA that even allowed Hill to get close in the first place. I really think Schumacher wins 1994 even with Senna still around. 95, 96 and possibly 97 if Senna had stuck around that long I agree he would have been strong favourite for the title. That 95 Williams was a really fast car, Hill and Coulthard dominated qualifying but in the races they were inconsistent and made some rookie errors. Benetton’s strategy and pitstops were also better which helped Schumacher. Ironically if Hill had driven as well in 95 as he did in 96 or even 94 he would have been much closer to winning that year’s title.

    Jon Sandor

    Based on their two seasons together I have to rate this a draw. They were equally good, though they had different ways of getting their very similar results. I’m partial to the Senna style of winning but I can understand why some favor Prost. We see the same split today over whether it reflects better on a driver to win from pole or from further down the grid. But that’s a style thing more than anything else.


    Ayrton Senna – 10 years of F1
    In his less than 11 years in F1, Senna had 16 collisions with other drivers. He was out 11 times because of such collisions with other drivers and it seems that he didn’t learn of his faults: In his last seven years in Formula 1, he had 13 collisions!

    A. Senna’s win percentage is 25.47.
    The win percentage is a good possibility to compare drivers…

    Average Points per race: 3.81
    3 times World Champion (30.0% of the total seasons competed in)

    Alain Prost – 13 years of F1
    In his 13 years in F1, Alain had just 7 collisions, most in the beginning of his F1-career. He was out every time he had a collision, which means 7 times. But he learned of his faults: In the years 1988 – 1993 he had not even one collision with another driver, except two times, when Ayrton Senna hit him (1989, 1990)… His crash-percentage in general is lower as well… And while Senna had a lot of spins during trainings and in races, Alain had really few.

    Alain Prost’s win percentage is 25.63.
    So, higher than the one of Ayrton Senna, although Alain had a bad car in the beginning of his career.

    Average Points per race 3.99
    4 times World Champion (30.8% of total seasons competed in).


    Long story short, Prost was a better driver than Senna.

    Ed Marques

    Numbers not always tell the whole history.

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