Who was Ayrton Senna and why is he considered one of ’s greatest drivers?

Who was Ayrton Senna and why is he considered one of ’s greatest drivers?
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Senna’s time on the European karting scene saw him race alongside an experienced British driver called Terry Fullerton, who he would later name as the person he gained the most satisfaction from competing against. Recalling the first time he saw Senna on track in an .com tribute feature, Fullerton described his former team mate as a “very, very quick little kid”.

After some thrilling – and at times tense – battles with Fullerton as they pushed for karting honors, Senna moved on to single-seaters, where he racked up Formula Ford 1600, British and European Formula Ford 2000 and British Formula 3 titles in successive seasons through the early 1980s, as well as triumphing in the prestigious Macau Grand Prix.

F1 ICONS: Aston Martin’s Felipe Drugovich on his fellow Brazilian and triple world champion Ayrton Senna

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When did he make it to F1?

Senna’s aforementioned success in junior categories caught the attention of F1 team bosses and, for the 1984 season, he signed with the plucky Toleman operation, impressively scoring points in only his second Grand Prix as he quickly got to grips with life in the top echelon.

Senna then spectacularly announced himself to the F1 world by splashing his way from a midfield starting position to second place in a Monaco Grand Prix hit by torrential rain, finishing just behind established McLaren racer Alain Prost after the encounter was red-flagged due to the conditions .

“It made a huge impression, not just on me… In fact, it probably made less of an impression on me than all other people, because I’d seen it sort of coming,” said Senna’s race engineer, Pat Symonds, when looking back on that performance. “It made a hell of an impression on an awful lot of people.”

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