MAY 1, 2004
Ten years on
It is 10 years today since the death of Ayrton Senna at Imola. The Brazilian three-time World Champion (1988, 1990, 1991) was a man of monumental genius, frightening commitment and a willingness to push right to the edge. He scored 65 pole positions in an era when the statistics still had a relevance and won more races than anyone before him, including an extraordinary sequence of six Monaco victories in seven years, his only defeat coming when he crashed while leading the other event by 45secs.
Ruthless and frequently misunderstood, Senna often did his best to hide a softer, highly emotional and compassionate character behind a shell of aloofness and aggression. Yet this was the man who wept for Roland Ratzenberger and who, on the day of his own death, planned in victory to wave the Austrian flag in tribute to his fallen colleague.
If he had to die it is fair to say that he died at the right time - at the absolute peak of his ability, in the prime of his life, doing what he loved best and adored all around the world by millions and millions of fans.
He will never grow old nor disappoint those fans - and perhaps that is how it should be.
Since his death Senna's name has remained well known, particularly in Brazil where his national hero status has been translated into a very successful charity institution, helping poor kids to better lives through sport and education.
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