F1’s Greatest Lap? Ayrton Senna at Donington 1993

I’m sure it is the greatest lap of Formula 1 history.

Remembering Ayrton Senna’s sensational opening lap of Donington Park at the European Grand Prix in April 1993.

On the 11th of April 1993 the Formula 1 world witnessed something that would never be forgotten among motorsport fanatics. It was the third round of the 1993 Formula One season and Ayrton Senna went on to win the Race for McLaren, ahead of Damon Hill and Alain Prost, both driving for Williams at the time.

In the qualifying Alain Prost and Damon Hill locked out the front row with their Williams Renault cars. In the second row, the up and coming Michael Schumacher with his Benetton Ford, next to Ayrton Senna in a McLaren Ford. Behind them, Karl Wendlinger in the Sauber and the American, Michael Andretti, team mate of Senna at that time.

As the race started, Schumacher tried to keep Senna behind by “closing the door” on him, which lost both of them valuable time. Karl Wendlinger knew how to use this to his advantage and jumped from 5th to 3rd position. Senna, now fifth, needed only three corners before he managed to pass Schumacher. He went on to take 3rd position back from Wendlinger in the Craner Curves.

Damon Hill was next on Ayrton Senna’s list and in the blink of an eye, he went past the Britain as well. The only driver left: Alain Prost, who was in the lead. Senna took it from him in the penultimate corner of the Donington Park Circuit.

Recap: In the first lap, Ayrton Senna passed four drivers: Michael Schumacher, Karl Wendlinger, Damon Hill and Alain Prost. In this single lap Senna managed to take the lead in heavy rain. The victory of the Brazilian was also special in another way: It was the only Formula 1 Grand Prix to date that was ever held at Donington Park and it was Ayrton Senna’s 19th and final fastest lap of his Formula 1 racing career.