I was only 1 1/2 when Senna died, so I certainly have no recollection of what people thought of him/said about him back in the day. I ask this because of the ubiquitous negative comments on Hamilton, especially in light of his Mercedes move. Both he and Senna’s personalities are popular topics of discussion. My impression of Senna was that he was quite the character, in both good and bad ways. I still got this impression from the documentary even though it seemed to villainize Prost. Perhaps it’s because people find it in bad taste to speak down on a dead man, but I never hear anything bad about him. Everyone has detractors, so I’m just curious as to what they said about him 20 years ago.
This was more or less the public opinion.
– extremely fast on one lap
– either win or DNF
– aggressive driving style
Had there been an F1 internet community 20 years ago, I believe Senna would’ve had as many haters as Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel do today. I also believe Senna wasn’t rated as highly before his Imola 1994, and his death made his legacy greater. That being said, I doubt few people would deny his speed and talents as a driver.
@kingshark You believe wrong. Look at some races from the 80s on youtube, Murray Walker calls Senna ‘probably the fastest driver on the grid’ as early as ’85, his second season.
I am only in high school. However, the opinion on Senna comes from my uncle, who’s been watching F1 since 1979. But he was a Prost fan though….
Murray Walker calls Senna ‘probably the fastest driver on the grid’ as early as ’85, his second season.
I don’t question Senna’s speed but rather him being a complete driver. Prost out-scored him 2 seasons in a row.
Senna didn’t really give Prost a real chance. He just wasn’t consistent enough, but he was clearly the better driver.
Consistency and keeping the car alive are an integral part of the package that makes a good driver. Prost was better at those things, Senna was quicker, both were greats in their own way. What I meant to say is that the ‘Senna is only rated so highly because he died’ thing is utter nonsense.
He was an excellent driver who, like today’s excellent drivers, had his share of faults and questionable traits. But no more or less then Alonso, Hamilton or Vettel.
I think drivers who die racing have in a small way, their legacy solidified, but it doesn’t build it. No way, it’s unfair and completely wrong.
@necrodethmortem It’s not nonsense at all. If you want an even better example, look at Gilles Villeneuve.
Right, nobody thought Villeneuve was any good until he died either o_0
This is where this conversation ends for me.
Yes, but nobody even thought of putting him amongst the all-time best before that.
If you want another example, there’s always Stefan Bellof. Another murderously overrated driver.
Just the other day I was reading the Motorsport magazine write-up of the 1991 Japanese Grand Prix which pilloried Senna for the press conference where he came clean about taking Prost off the year before. Here’s a bit of what Senna said for those who haven’t seen it:
@pamphlet : Do you even know of Stefan Bellof’s achievements in sportscars?? The people who rate him highly are far more experienced at judging drivers than you. So please do a bit of background reading next time before spewing out whatever first comes to your mind…
I don’t think drivers dying makes them more rated, it might add to the mystique a bit in the case of guys like Clark, Rindt, Ascari and Senna but they were all considered great drivers before they died anyway. However I definitely think that in the case of Senna and maybe with other drivers too, the fact he died means some of his fans and people discussing great drivers do not take valid criticism of his driving well at all, or choose to gloss over/ignore their failings as you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead.
I’ve frequently seen people castigate Schumacher for some of the things he did on track, but with Senna they are prepared to overlook what he did in Suzuka 1990, or some of his other more questionable moments.
If you go onto some forums or websites and utter a word against Senna you will get your head ripped off, but I guess that’s as true today for any of the current top guys. It’s probably why Alain Prost refused to speak about Senna for such a long while after he died, he couldn’t really win whatever he said. If he said good things people would be saying he didn’t behave that way when he was alive, and if he badmouthed him then he would be criticising someone who can’t defend himself.
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