Ayrton Senna had 65 pole positions throughout his F1 career, and several of them involve stories of overcoming obstacles, with the driver pushing both his and the car’s limits to the edge, in order secure the first place on the starting grid. On September 29, 1990, Senna took the pole position at Jerez de la Frontera by breaking the circuit’s record and, to boot, was gifted a cake by McLaren in honor of his 50th pole position in Formula One.

Take a look back at 5 other memorable poles by Senna:

1- 1990 Spanish GP

Check out a special comparison between the fastest lap by Ayrton Senna (McLaren) and by Alain Prost (Ferrari) during the qualifying session in which the Brazilian set the new record at Jerez.

2- 1988 Monaco GP

The pole position won by Ayrton Senna at the 1988 Monaco GP was a hard blow to Alain Prost. The Brazilian took his best lap in 1min23s998, and he was 1s427 quicker than the Frenchman.  Senna’s best lap wasn’t shown in the TV broadcast of the qualifying session, but Mclaren decided to “recreate” this lap in the video game.


3- 1989 Japanese GP

The largest gap between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in a fight for a pole position when they were both at McLaren took place in the race that was going to decide the 1989 title. Senna posted a time of 1min38s041, and the Frenchman was 1s730 slower, which meant he would be starting in second. On the following day, Prost started better and kept the lead until both drivers were involved in a controversial accident at the Suzuka chicane.

Even though he stayed in and won the race, Senna was disqualified in a decision by the race officials.

4-1993 Australian  GP

Since he hadn’t had a pole all season, in 1993, Senna knew it was going to be hard to start the last race of the year in first place, by beating the Williams driven by Alain Prost and Damon Hill. Due to a break-down in the radio communication with the team, Senna stayed on the track while Ron Dennis was ordering his driver back to the pits, to avoid running out of fuel. In his last attempt, Senna posted a time of 1min13s371, beating Prost by 0s436. To make things even better, Senna won the race on the following day.

5- 1991 Brazilian GP

At Interlagos, expectations were running high for Ayrton Senna’s first win of the Brazilian GP, in 1991. The frenzy on the stands started on Saturday, when the McLaren driver took the pole position with a time of 1min16s392, 0s383 faster than Ricardo Patrese’s Williams. On Sunday, Senna was able to achieve the coveted win – but not without some drama, since he had to finish the final laps with just the sixth gear.

6- GP da Bélgica 1991

Ayrton Senna’s pole position at Spa-Francorchamps in 1991 stands out among those that were broadcast live on TV.  On the video, we can clearly hear the sound of the V12 Honda engine and see the sparks flying out of the McLaren when it touches de ground. The three-time champion also overtakes several rivals along the way and finishes his lap in 1min47s811, 1s1011 quicker than Ferrari’s Alain Prost, who started in second.