Lewis Hamilton picks Ayrton Senna’s first lap at Donington Park in 1993 as his favourite F1 race

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Ayrton Senna pictured after winning the European Grand Prix at Donington Park in 1993


‘It’s just phenomenal to watch’: Lewis Hamilton picks Ayrton Senna’s stunning first lap at Donington Park in 1993 as his favourite Formula One moment ahead of 1,000th race

  • Lewis Hamilton chose Ayrton Senna’s epic drive in the 1993 European Grand Prix at Donington Park as his favourite Formula One moment
  • Starting from fourth place on the grid in wet conditions, the Brazilian was leading by the end of the first lap after stunning overtaking moves
  • Hamilton said he wanted to emulate the achievements of Senna as a youngster
  • Mercedes driver is preparing for 1,000th Grand Prix in Shanghai this weekend 

Lewis Hamilton has starred in many epic races himself since he made his Formula One debut in 2007 but the race he has chosen as his favourite captures the brilliance of his hero, the late Ayrton Senna – at Donington Park in 1993.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s 1,000th race, Hamilton, who cried behind his father’s car when he heard of the Brazilian’s death at Imola in 1994, said: ‘I was inspired by Ayrton Senna and that’s where a lot of my passion for Formula One comes from.

‘I started watching F1 with my dad when I was just four or five years old. I loved cars.

Ayrton Senna pictured after winning the European Grand Prix at Donington Park in 1993

From fourth on the grid, Senna led the race by the end of the first lap in tricky conditions

From fourth on the grid, Senna led the race by the end of the first lap in tricky conditions

‘At the time, Ayrton and Alain Prost were the leaders of the pack and they immediately caught my attention.

‘I would come home and often put on a video of Ayrton. I wanted to be like him. I aspired to drive the way he drove and to achieve something similar to what he achieved.

‘Any of Ayrton’s great races would be among my favourites. You think of the amazing performances in Monaco but the one that stands out is his incredible first lap at Donington in the wet at the European Grand Prix in 1993. It’s just phenomenal to watch.’ 

Senna sprays Damon Hill with champagne following his victory at Donington Park in 1993

Senna sprays Damon Hill with champagne following his victory at Donington Park in 1993

Lewis Hamilton selected Senna's drive as his favourite F1 moment ahead of the 1,000th race

Lewis Hamilton selected Senna’s drive as his favourite F1 moment ahead of the 1,000th race

In torrential rain Senna went from fourth to first on that opening lap with a series of stunning overtaking moves and won by a minute and a half.

Hamilton’s win at Silverstone in 2008 had echoes of his hero’s brilliance when again in rain he won by a minute, not spinning once while his title rival Felipe Massa spun FIVE times.



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