Champion of Champions
Ayrton Senna and Damon Hill’s F1 careers overlapped as Hill’s was beginning and Senna’s was coming to its sadly premature end.
They started just three races as team mates at Williams in 1994 before Senna was killed at Imola.
Senna made his F1 debut in 1984 with the Toleman team. He swiftly made an impression by taking second place at Monaco in the rain – he was catching leader Alain Prost as the race was halted.
He moved to Lotus and scored his maiden win in similar conditions in Portugal. Senna made the team his own, staying there for three years before deciding his best chances of winning the championship would come with a move to McLaren.
That meant sharing a team with Prost and so began one of the most notorious rivalries the sport has ever seen.
Senna claimed the crown in 1988 as the pair won 15 of the 16 races. But unreliability knocked his title defence off-course in 1989 and Prost took the title after controversially colliding with Senna in at Suzuka.
Their feud continued in 1990 after Prost left to join Ferrari. This time the title went to Senna, who returned Prost’s favour from 1989 by crashing into him in Japan.
Senna and McLaren were under attack from a different direction in 1991 – Nigel Mansell and the increasingly formidable Williams-Renault combination. While Senna retained his crown that year he was powerless to stop Mansell dominating the 1992 championship.
Prost took over from Mansell at Williams the following year and the result was much the same – though Senna managed to take five wins.
Prost’s team mate in 1993 was Hill, who landed the seat after a few outings for Brabham the previous year. He made a halting start in the first races of his debut season, but rebounded to win three races in a row later in the year.
Senna’s time with Williams was over all too soon and it was left to Hill to carry the team’s championship chances in a car which was not the dominant force its predecessors had been.
He came close to getting the job done. But at Adelaide it was Hill’s turn to be taken out by a rival in a championship-deciding race – at the hands of Michael Schumacher.
Schumacher defeated Hill even more emphatically in 1995. But in 1996 Hill rebounded, winning the championship after a season-long battle with new team mate Jacques Villeneuve.
Even so Williams decided not to retain his services. Hill joined Arrows for a largely joyless 1997, but after changing teams he gave Jordan their first race win in 1998. He retired after one more season with them.
Which of these drivers should go through to the next round of the Champion of Champions? Vote for which you think was best below and explain who you voted for and why in the comments.
|Ayrton Senna||Damon Hill|
|Titles||1988, 1990, 1991||1996|
|Second in title year/s||Alain Prost, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell||Jacques Villeneuve|
|Teams||Toleman, Lotus, McLaren, Williams||Brabham, Williams, Arrows, Jordan|
|Notable team mates||Alain Prost, Gerhard Berger, Mika Hakkinen||Alain Prost, David Coulthard, Jacques Villeneuve|
|Wins||41 (25.47%)||22 (19.13%)|
|Poles||65 (40.37%)||20 (17.39%)|
|Modern points per start1||11.68||9.49|
|% car failures2||20.50||14.78|
|Modern points per finish3||14.70||11.13|
|Notes||Won three titles in four years with McLaren||Narrowly missed 1994 title after collision with Schumacher|
|Controversial clash with Prost sealed second title||Clinched championship in 1996 after year-long battle with Jacques Villeneuve|
|Killed in third race for Williams in 1994||Nearly gave Arrows their first win at Hungary in 1997, did give Jordan their first win at Belgium the following year|
|Bio||Ayrton Senna||Damon Hill|
1 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of races they started
2 The percentage of races in which they were not classified due to a mechanical failure
3 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of starts in which they did not suffer a race-ending mechanical failure
Which was the better world champion driver?
- Ayrton Senna (94%)
- Damon Hill (6%)
Total Voters: 686
Read the F1 Fanatic Champion of Champions introduction for more information and remember to check back tomorrow for the next round.
Have you voted in the previous rounds of Champion of Champions yet? Find them all here:
Champion of Champions
- Ayrton Senna voted Champion of Champions by F1 Fanatic readers
- Champion of Champions in stats
- Champion of Champions Final: Senna vs Schumacher
- Ayrton Senna vs Juan Manuel Fangio
- Michael Schumacher vs Alain Prost
- Ayrton Senna vs Jack Brabham
- Juan Manuel Fangio vs Jackie Stewart
- Alain Prost vs Niki Lauda
- Jim Clark vs Michael Schumacher
- Jack Brabham vs Lewis Hamilton
Images © Williams/Sutton