Episode 62: The Death of Ayrton Senna

Ayrton Senna with model of his first championship-winning car. (Photo courtesy of Instituto Ayrton Senna)
Ayrton Senna with model of his first championship-winning car. (Photo courtesy of Instituto Ayrton Senna)

Today marks the 21st anniversary of the death of three-time Formula One world champion Ayrton Senna.

Here are a few things you may not have knowns about Senna and the deadly weekend.

First: Senna won the world drivers’ championship in 1988, 1990 and 1991 driving for McLaren. The Brazilian’s 41 career victories rank third all time behind Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost. During his career he raced for Toleman, Lotus, McLaren and Williams. He is regarded by some as the greatest Formula One driver of all time.

Second: Senna was the second driver killed during the San Marino Grand Prix weekend at Imola and third to be involved in a major accident. During Friday practice, Rubens Barrichello, a fellow Brazilian was knocked unconscious during a 140-mile-per-hour crash. On Saturday, Austria’s Roland Ratzenberger was killed when the front wing of his car detached and he lost the ability to steer at 195 miles per hour. He died of a basilar skull fracture, the same injury that killed NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500.

Third: After qualifying on the pole, the race started ominously as well. One car stalled on the start and was crashed into causing the next few laps to be run under caution behind a pace car. Two laps after the race restarted, Senna hit the wall at Tamburello Corner at 131 miles per hour. Senna would die of the massive injuries. The race was restarted after 37 minutes.

Our question: Where did Ayrton Senna earn his last victory?

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