Donington 1993




During qualifying Prost took pole, with his superior Williams, in front of Hill, Schumacher and Senna 4th.


On sunday 11 april 1993 rain had fallen on Donington.


Senna, (who theoretically stood no chance, with a car that wasn't really competitive), wasn't going to be the one to beat the Williams', he did not have the latest spec Ford, which belonged only to Benetton. But when rain fell over Donington Senna knew that if he took the lead soon, before the Williams' got settled, he could have a chance for a good result, that was going to be the tactic.


When the lights turned green, Prost took the lead in front of Hill, Wendlinger, Schumacher and Senna.


Senna overtook schumacher quickly.


They traveled downhill to the left-and-right of the Craner Curves, Senna pitching the Mclaren outside Wendlinger describing an enormous arc. He was no already third. Senna caught Hill, and came down the inside, he had the Mclaren deep on this inside and went trough, second.


And I repeat that this was still in the first lap.


Around Coppice Senna gained on Prost. Then he caught him. They traveled towards the Melbourne Hairpin, a tight horseshoe. Senna lined the Mclaren up mid track, Prost outside him, and seized the inside. Both cars slithered but Senna now seized the hairpin.


Senna was now leading the race! with a car who stood virtually no chance to the Williams' and Benetton's, but he had beaten them all. The 1'35"843, is one of the (if not the) best lap ever driven in racing history.


What followed there was Senna driving away from the rest of the field.


By lap 7 the sun was threatening to make an appearance, this would mean, that the Williams' could show there spuriousness over the Mclarens and gain back on Senna.


After the first stops Senna remained in the lead over Prost and Hill.


By lap 20 Senna had an 5 sec advantage.


Then raindrops fell, plump and getting plumper. Prost pitted for wets on lap 22, Hill 2 laps later. Senna decided to stay on the track with dry tires, a very big risk, because no one knew how whet the track would be in 10-20 laps.


Senna pitted for wets on lap 28, and retained the lead. On lap 33, with the track drying again, Prost pitted for dries, Senna followed a lap later, and it cost him the lead, because something went wrong on the right rear wheel, it cost him 20 seconds. Prost led by some 7 seconds.


And then the rain returned. Prost pitted for wets on lap 38, Hill on lap 41. Senna stayed out, balancing his skills against the weather, the Mclaren was dancing a bit, but never lost control. The master was at work.


The track was drying again. Prost pitted for dries on lap 48, and stalled. Race position were then, Senna, Barrichello, Hill and Prost. On lap 53 Prost pitted for the sixth time to change the left rear. Barrichello pitted on lap 55, which meant Senna was leading the Donington Gp by a whole lap!!! (with a un competitive car!)


Senna was now in another dimension, a dimension only he could reach.


The rain came back. Senna entered the pit for wets, but drove trough, there was a little misunderstanding. His pit lane run gave him the fastest lap, another unique thing.


Hill un lapped himself, but only because the end was coming closer, and Senna didn't want to take any risks


He pitted for wets on lap 66.


In the end the rain got harder, but Senna eased across the final few laps.




Senna like always drove his honour lap with his Brazilian flag, which he was so proud of.



At the press conference after the race, Senna was in a good mood.


Prost 'We had problems with the tires'


Senna 'Oh, you aren't happy, want to trade?!!'


And he was right.


Reactions on Donington


'Ayrton and the team worked well, we did less pit stops than the others so were gaining time and when he led by a lap it was unbelievable, unbelievable'


' After that race Ayrton felt ever so well. He loved it, he really enjoyed it. It's a race he will talk about himself for ever' (Jo Ramirez)


'Donington was one of the best strategic races we have ever had, one where we were in complete harmony' (Ron Dennis)


'That performance was simply incredible. It required not only technique and a nerve brain' (M. Brundle)


'I don't know how many times we stopped for tires (slow smile). I think it's surely the record in any race. Driving with slicks in damp and very slippery conditions was a tremendous effort because you just don't get the feeling from the car, you have to commit yourself to certain corners and you can be off the circuit. Conditions like this is gambling and it's taking chances that pay off and we gambled well. I feel very light about it all. I wish I could go home and have another party like Brazil. Then I would have another week of bad throat and antibiotics but I would go through it again. We won as a group. So many things happened that I find it hard to remember'.


'That race told me everything to myself. It was what I wanted to prove to myself' (Senna after the race)


Donington: 'A state of art'





Races of the year