Senna and Prost. When the rivalry becomes too much.

When teammates in Formula one are vying for the Drivers title it can create some of the most dramatic moments in sport. You have to have a certain degree of ego to drive something as fast and as inherently dangerous as a Formula one car so when you add in drivers of a similar skill then sparks are going to fly. We’ve seen recent examples of this with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber for Red Bull, and Nico Rosberg with Lewis Hamilton. This last rivalry made even fruitier when you consider that the two were friends at karting. This bonhomie was blown apart with Lewis’s ascertain during their time at Mercedes that he and Nico were “not friends” and Rosberg’s retirement after winning one title because he did not want to be competing against Hamilton again. For many watching these incredible drivers was the event of a lifetime and you can see today’s drivers speeding around the track whilst you sit in the great surroundings of the Britain F1 Paddock Club by taking a look at edgeglobalevents.com/f1-paddock-club/f1-paddock-club-britain

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Minor skirmishes compared to one of the most competitive and even destructive rivalries between two drivers in 1988. Senna was the hothead, a rule bender who could bring the very best out of the car whatever the conditions. Prost was a more measured driver, still fast but calculating, he would not push for wins unless he really had to, content to hold position and see a race through. Senna, following a good relationship with Honda, came to McLaren and the approval of Prost. Prost was the team’s number one and a double world champion. He soon found that the young Brazilian would be hard on his heels.

Senna began to outperform Prost. He out qualified him and was marginally quicker. He was into racing beyond the calmer Prost. Smashing his Mclaren into the barriers Senna stomped off home and did not return until later in the evening as the McLaren team prepared to leave. Prost had already surmised what had happening giving the team the full story that it was Senna’s error. The Portugese Grand Prix saw the first on track exchange as the faster Prost was baulked by Senna and almost ended up into the pit wall. In a rare aggressive move Prost surged on passing Senna. The two put their differences aside that year and calmed the conflict. Senna took his first world title with Prost a close second.

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This rivalry did not abate in 1989. Passions had intensified and not cooled. At San Marino a pre-race agreement over qualifying was ignored by Senna. Both drivers were barely speaking and Prost had the better of the year but it was at Suzuka, the scene of so many dramas that matters came to a head. Senna had to win but changes made to Prost’s car, without sharing the info, made him faster. At the Casio Chicane Senna and Prost collided; Prost turning into Senna. Senna was push started and went on to win whereas Prost retired. The stewards found in Prost favour a decision that enraged Senna so that he almost quit. Prost left Mclaren for Ferrari and Ron Dennis actively sought to keep the Brazilian and he agreed to stay. It was not the end a year later Prost’s Ferrari in second was given the better starting side and he needed to win. Senna tried to recover on the first bend but again Prost turned in. This time, Senna planted his foot and smashed into the Ferrari sending them both out.

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