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"there has only ever been one perfect man, the Lord Jesus, and we killed him. I only missed a putt."

Berhard Langer on the 1991 Ryder Cup

Ayrton Senna

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Portrait of a racing legend, Bruce Jones, Carlton 2019. ISBN 978-1-78739-239-7

While this is a very readable book, it is worth the price just for the photos! It includes a photographic record of Senna’s career from childhood to funeral with action shots from karting, junior racing through to Formula 1. The F1 fan will love the reminders of the different cars that he drove throughout his illustrious career.

Following a chapter on karting and another on his early days in cars, there are seven chapters on his F1 career and a career statistics section. While there are descriptions of the key races, the successes and the disappointments, the book is strong on analysis. The character and personality of Senna emerge clearly – a driven, obsessive, uncompromising person. At the same time, he was a compassionate man setting up a foundation and other systems to give away some of his wealth to help others.

The only reference to Senna’s Christian faith is a quote from his sister, Viviane: “God gave Ayrton a mission.” There is also a poignant quote from Niki Lauda about the week in which Senna and Roland Ratzenberger died: “God has had his hand over F1 for a long time. This weekend, he took it away”.

It is hard to disagree with the book’s conclusion that Senna was “perhaps the greatest driver F1 has known”. This excellent book is a great tribute to his career and talent.

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