Ayrton Senna da Silva was a Brazilian Formula 1 driver who won the world championship three times, in 1988, 1990 and in 1991. He was widely regarded – by fans, critics and pundits – as one of the most brilliant and skilful racers of all time. He won 3 world championships and a total of 65 grands prix. Senna was born with a silver spoon in his mouth – son to a wealthy businessman in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where his father built him his first go-kart. From that point on, there was no looking back. He was known for pouring his soul into everything that he did – not just racing. He always pushed himself: to go faster than he was, and to be a better human being every day.
Pushing when others have given up
In the Monaco GP of 1984, Senna was racing for team Toleman, a minnow team that wasn’t expected to win races. Monaco as a racing circuit is extremely technical with few and fast. But Senna was no ordinary driver. He qualified a thirteenth, and would start the race somewhere in the middle of the pack. He was driving a rather uneventful race when it started raining. That’s when Senna truly shone. In unforgiving conditions, which prompted other racers to request race cancellation, he pushed harder than anyone else on the track and – In a circuit where overtaking is considered next to impossible, he lapped every car on the circuit. He gained an unbelievable 3 seconds a lap and won the race! Unfortunately, the race was cancelled at other teams behest. But it showed what Senna could do even in ordinary cars!
Senna at his home circuit: Brazil
Senna was already 5 years into the sport, but had never won the Brazilian GP at Interlagos. But this time, he was leading the race. When disaster struck.
Around the 60th lap of a 67 lap race, his car’s transmission jammed and he was stuck in the sixth gear. Now, it is nearly impossible for any car to navigate turns at that speed. Drivers almost always have to slow down to at least the third gear on the slower turns. Most drivers would have quit. But not Senna.
He drove through twists and turns on sixth gear! The force required to manage the car was immense. It took a toll on him, and when the race ended, Senna couldn’t even be touched. Let alone walk and move. But he did win in a situation where others would have given up.
- Pour your soul into everything you do and give it your best.
- Constantly challenge yourself. Don’t quit when others would and you’ll rise above them.