Ayrton Senna vs Alain Prost
It rains at the Monaco Grand Prix on June 3 1984. According to the qualifications
Alain Prost, at the fifth season in F1, is in pole position followed by Mansell, Arnoux, Alboreto, Warwick, Tambay, De Cesaris, Lauda, Piquet and Rosberg.
The race begins 45 minutes after the expected time because of adverse weather conditions. At the start the French driver
maintains the command, followed by Mansell and Arnoux; the latter dabs Warwick at the St. Devote curve, who comes up against barriers, so he must retire.
Patrese and De Angelis are forced to stop. Two laps after the ascent of Beaurivage, Lauda overtakes the Ferrari of Arnoux while, from the back, the young Ayrton Senna
drives as fast as the former with his Toleman.
At lap 16, Mansell loses control of his Lotus and hits the guardrail, due to an aquaplaning in the middle of the "Beaurivage"; meanwhile, Senna
surpasses first Rosberg and then Arnoux, thus beginning to presson Niki Lauda that he overtakes at lap 19, in the final straight, by taking the second position.
The rain is getting stronger and during the 29th lap Prost shakes his hand to ask to suspend the race: the French is a good
calculator and he understands that it would be better to stop here.
At lap 32, Senna is at just 2 seconds behind Prost when the race director Jacky Ickx shows the red flag; while Prost lifts off the accelerator,
Ayrton exults as if he had won the first place.
Race over, Prost wins ahead of Senna; it's just the beginning of an epic battle.
In the biennium 1985-1986 Prost is very strong and scores a splendid double in the world championship that catapults him to the Olympus of motoring.
Ayrton, for its part, after passing from Toleman to the more competitive Lotus starts winning the
first few races.
The first victory is in 1985, at the Portuguese GP: pole position, fastest lap and splendid victory in the beloved rain.
But for the Brazilian the time was not yet ripe.
In 1988 Ayrton passes to McLaren, the same team of Alain, and into the Grand Prix of Portugal it happens the first disagreement among them: the Brazilian, while he duels
with Prost for the first position, brings his teammate against the wall; the French accuses Ayrton of having made a dangerous thing, even if he manages to win the race.
The world championship will be won by Ayrton Senna.
Their situation degenerates in 1989: on April 22, Ayrton wins the fifth consecutive pole in five years on the Imola circuit. When the race starts, Berger's car
catches fire: the pilot comes out unscathed, but it's all to be redone.
Before the second start, during a summit in the McLaren's box, the air could be cutted with a knife: the agreement among two drivers is that none of them can
overtake the other in the first lap.
At the second start, Prost goes better than Ayrton; the latter doesn't respect their pact and overtakes Prost at the Tosa.
On the podium the professor is furious, but the worst is yet to come.
At the end of the season in Japan, at the Suzuka circuit, Prost is on top of the championship and Senna is determined to fight to the last;
the professor must necessarily win to close mathematically the world championship in his favor, and Ayrton must fight to leave open the world's title.
The Brazilian, despite the pole obtained with a gap of over a second and a half from the French, is not unable to obtain first place, leaving the command
the race to Prost.
On the 46th lap Senna attacks Prost at the chicane of the triangle: the two collide and end up in the gravel. They both throw a look of hatred to the other: it seems that the French closed the trajectory for Ayrton, without giving him any chances of overtaking.
Prost, now sure of winning the world championship, gets out of his car while Ayrton, helped by the marshals, returns in the lead.
The car of the Brazilian is damaged and needs a pit-stop; so Alessandro Nannini passes in first position.
Ayrton starts from the pits and miraculously manages to recover the Italian: he overtakes Nannini in the Casio chicane during the 51st passage and goes on to win.
Then he lifts the helmet visor and cries.
The awards arrive slowly, as the crowd acclaims the Paulist. The FIA president of the time, Jean Marie Balestre (who is French as Prost)
, votes for
the disqualification of Ayrton: the on-track by the escape of the chicane is considered extremely dangerous. The victory is assigned to Nannini and thanks to this result Prost becomes mathematically World Champion
for the third time in his career.
Ayrton is disqualified and fined of one hundred thousand dollars for have criticizing the federation. He is unleashed in a public statement with these words:
"I was blamed for everything and I was penalized for everything. I was treated like a criminal and this is totally unacceptable "
He's also deprived of pilot's superlicense, with the requirement of an official apology. Excuses that will never arrive from the Brazilian,
who conversely is determined to take his revenge.
Destiny sometimes has a strange sense of humor: a year later, in 1990, the two drivers find themselves in Suzuka, but with reversed roles.
Prost must win the race if he wants to keep the world championship open, while Ayrton needs a retreat of the French to be crowned world champion Formula
one for the second time. During the conference between the pilots and the federation the air is heavy. Balestre, at the request of Nelson Piquet, decides
that any cuts of chicane will not be punished as that happened the previous year. Ayrton leaves the conference; the tension increases.
At the first corner, however, the unbelievable happens: Ayrton hits the French on the inside and the two end up on the sand.
The Brazilian is the new world champion. Only after a year, with a cool head, admits his act justifying it as a repair to wrongly received the year before.
At the end of the championship he says:
"Races are like this, sometimes they end up at the first corner, sometimes with six laps to go ..."
In 1991 Prost ends a winless season due to technical problems of the Ferrari,
while Senna, with the McLaren, is the protagonist of a formidable season that crowns him the world champion for the third time with 96 points.
In 1992 the French leaves the F1 (because of a declaration concerning the performance of the Ferrari)
and takes a year off before returning in 1993, in his last season in the circus, on the powerful Williams.
Australia 1993: the epilogue. Senna rips his fifth victory of the season by winning the Grand Prix in Adelaide, but Prost wins the championship.
On the podium
Ayrton raises the arm of the enemy Alain: they never spoke each other for almost four years.
April 29, 1994, free practice of the Grand Prix of San Marino, two days before the death of Ayrton Senna: Prost, as a TV speaker, goes into William box for a greeting.
Ayrton, who is on track for a practice session, is warned of the visit by radio, and before making a technical comment on the state of the track, he
"Greetings to my dear friend ... Hey Alain, Alain, I miss you."
The last spark of magic by the Brazilian, as if he had been aware that this was the last time he would talk with Alain.