The Oscars – the most prestigious awards in worldwide cinema – takes place this weekend. In the lead-up to the ceremony, we bring you six overtakes that could have come straight out of a movie, all of them made by Ayrton Senna.
1 – Senna x Niki Lauda – Monaco 1984
Ayrton Senna’s most celebrated race in the year of his F1 debut also featured one his most memorable overtakes. At the start of the 19thlap, Senna was side by side with Niki Lauda’s McLaren and made a brilliant maneuver on the outside lane, before reaching the Saint Devote corner. No one could believe a Toleman had just beaten a McLaren, the car that had won four out of the five races held in 1984.
2- Senna x Nigel Mansell – Detroit 1986
The 1986 Detroit GP went down in history as the first time Ayrton Senna held up the Brazilian flag inside his cockpit. However, the overtake that gave him the lead was just as memorable: Ayrton caught up with Nigel Mansell on the streets of Detroit and beautifully overtook him on lap 8, when he found a small space between the Lion and the wall.
3- Senna x Alain Prost and Michele Alboreto – Adelaide 1987
Ayrton Senna was in fourth place at the 1987 Australian GP, when he saw the chance to overtake both Alain Prost and Michele Alboreto in a single maneuver. On paper, a Lotus should have little chance against a Ferrari and a McLaren, but Ayrton Senna made everything look easier.
4- Senna x Jean Alesi – Phoenix 1990
The duel between Ayrton Senna and Jean Alesi at the 1990 United States GP was among the most spectacular in the season. After starting in fifth place, Senna climbed to third on the first lap and benefited from a mistake by Gerhard Berger, who crashed his McLaren into the tire barrier. In second place, all the Brazilian had to do was to overtake the French rookie, who was driving his Tyrell like an old pro. Check out the duel won by Ayrton Senna.
5- Senna x Damon Hill – Interlagos 1993
One of Ayrton Senna’s most memorable overtakes in the history of the Brazilian GP took place against Damon Hill’s Williams. Driving an inferior car, Senna took advantage of the wet stretches of the pavement to get close to the Briton, who had cold tires on, after a pit stop. The three-time champion overtook the rival with a maneuver in which he pretended he was going to go wide, but then he attacked from the inside lane.
6- Senna x Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill and Karl Wendlinger – Donington 1993
The best first lap in F1 history was a veritable overtake festival, courtesy of Ayrton Senna. Driving impeccably, it was like Senna was the only one driving on a dry track, while his adversaries didn’t even try to defend themselves on the wet course. The way he passed Austrian Karl Wedlinger, coming from the outside, on a spot where just Senna found a little grip, was one of the most striking in the Brazilian’s F1 career.
If you liked Ayrton Senna’s cinematic overtakes, take a look at the movies that pay homage to the Brazilian. Check out the list.