2014 F1

Hamilton – Unforgettable battles between Senna and Prost at Suzuka

Singapore was a good weekend for me. It’s the first time in quite a few races that I’ve not had to fight through the pack to get a result which made life a lot easier.

In the final stint, I had to clear Sebastian quickly after making the extra stop. But the car just felt fantastic and I could push whenever I needed to throughout the race. Of course, it was disappointing for the team to have another retirement but I know they have made this a priority moving forwards. It’s levelled things up in the Drivers’ Championship, so hopefully we’ll now have a straight battle right to the flag in Abu Dhabi.

Suzuka is one of the races on the calendar that drivers love the most – and arguably one of the greatest tracks in the world. There’s so much history and there have been so many defining moments there – like those unforgettable battles between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.

I’ve never won at this circuit and have only made the podium once, on my first visit way back in 2009. I’ve had a couple of chances and last season was probably the best of those. This year, though, we have an exceptional car and I’m really hoping I’ll finally have my shot at the top step. All the greats of Formula One have won at Suzuka since the sport first came there in the 1980s and I’m determined to add my name to that list this weekend. (Lewis Hamilton)

Suzuka, October 22, 1989

All over: Senna (front) and Prost's collision in 1989 resulted in the latter winning the drivers' title

All over: Senna (front) and Prost’s collision in 1989 resulted in the latter winning the drivers’ title

Will a title fight ever end in more bitter and controversial circumstances? After two years as McLaren team-mates, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were huge enemies by the time they reached the Far East in 1989.

The dominant duo were engaged in a battle for the title which looked like it had come to an end in the Frenchman’s favour during the Suzuka race.

After Senna dived down the inside at the final chicane to pass Prost, the pair tangled and came to a halt on the track while fighting for the lead in the latter stages of the grand prix. The points-difference with a race to go meant Prost would be crowned champion if both failed to finish.

However, Senna, assisted by the marshalls, re-joined the action with a broken front wing but crucially cut a chicane as he re-took to the track on the start/finish straight before pitting to repair his car.

But after going on to pass Alessandro Nannini and take the chequered flag, Senna was immediately disqualified from the race – much to the fury of the Brazilian and the McLaren team – for cutting the chicane after the incident with Prost.

Despite McLaren appeals, the result stood and with one race to go Prost had won his third world title. Fans still debate whether Prost calculated a crash, if Senna was too aggressive, or even if the collision was just simply a racing incident.

Nannini collected the victory and it would be his only grand prix win as the talented Italian’s career was sadly cut short a year later after his right arm was severed in a helicopter crash. (Dailymail.co.uk)


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