Today it’s eighteen years since the late Ayrton Senna last stood atop a Formula 1 podium; the Brazilian claimed his 41st and final win in his last race for McLaren at the 1993 Australian Grand Prix at Adelaide.
The season-ending race at Adelaide always had something of an end-of-term feel for much of the grid, but for Ayrton, this was another race where he could stamp his mark.
He did it masterfully, claiming his first pole position of the season with a scorching lap on Saturday, marking the first non-Williams pole of the entire year.
On race day, Senna was presented with a photo collage to mark the end of his long relationship with McLaren and sponsor Marlboro; the Brazilian would be adopting the blue and white colour scheme of Williams next year, in which he was certain he could claim a fourth championship in 1994.
It took three attempts to get the race started, as first Ukyo Katayama and then Eddie Irvine stalled on the starting grid.
Finally underway, Senna converted his pole into an early lead, beating arch-rival Alain Prost – who was making his final Grand Prix appearance after winning a fourth championship title – into the first corner.
It was a commanding performance from Senna, who only surrendered the lead in the first few laps following his first tyre stop; Prost steadily slipped further behind and came under pressure from team-mate Hill late in the race.
By the end of the race’s 79 laps, the two giants of the sport had staged their final on-track battle, and the pair finally made peace on the podium. It would be the last time the pair would see one another in person.
For Prost, it marked the end of an era as he disappeared into retirement, later emerging as a consultant for Renault before he took on the ill-fated role as the new owner of the Ligier team, which he renamed eponymously in 1998.
The race was also the last for Riccardo Patrese and Derek Warwick, who both hung up their helmets after their own respectively lengthy careers.
1993 Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Final Classification (79 laps):
|1.||Ayrton Senna||McLaren – Ford V8 MP4/8||79||1:43:27.476||1|
|2.||Alain Prost||Williams – Renault V10 FW15C||79||+ 9.259||2|
|3.||Damon Hill||Williams – Renault V10 FW15C||79||+ 33.902||3|
|4.||Jean Alesi||Scuderia Ferrari V12 F93A||78||1 lap behind||7|
|5.||Gerhard Berger||Scuderia Ferrari V12 F93A||78||1 lap behind||6|
|6.||Martin Brundle||Ligier – Renault V10 JS39||78||1 lap behind||8|
|7.||Aguri Suzuki||Footwork – Mugen Honda V10 FA14||78||1 lap behind||10|
|8.||Riccardo Patrese||Benetton – Ford V8 B193||77||Fuel system||9|
|9.||Mark Blundell||Ligier – Renault V10 JS39||77||2 laps behind||14|
|10.||Derek Warwick||Footwork – Mugen Honda V10 FA14||77||2 laps behind||17|
|11.||Rubens Barrichello||Jordan – Hart V10 193||76||3 laps behind||13|
|12.||Érik Comas||Larrousse – Lamborghini V12 LH93||76||3 laps behind||21|
|13.||Andrea de Cesaris||Tyrrell – Yamaha V10 021||75||4 laps behind||15|
|14.||Toshio Suzuki||Larrousse – Lamborghini V12 LH93||74||5 laps behind||24|
|15.||Karl Wendlinger||Sauber – Ilmor V10 C12||73||Brakes||11|
|DNF.||JJ Lehto||Sauber – Ilmor V10 C12||56||Accident||12|
|DNF.||Jean-Marc Gounon||Minardi – Ford V8 M193||34||Spin||22|
|DNF.||Mika Häkkinen||McLaren – Ford V8 MP4/8||28||Brakes||5|
|DNF.||Michael Schumacher||Benetton – Ford V8 B193||19||Engine||4|
|DNF.||Ukyo Katayama||Tyrrell – Yamaha V10 021||11||Spin||18|
|DNF.||Eddie Irvine||Jordan – Hart V10 193||10||Accident||19|
|DNF.||Johnny Herbert||Lotus – Ford 107B V8||9||Suspension||20|
|DNF.||Pierluigi Martini||Minardi – Ford V8 M193||5||Gearbox||16|
|DNF.||Pedro Lamy||Lotus – Ford 107B V8||0||Accident||23|
|Alain Prost||Williams – Renault V10 FW15C||64||1:15.381|
Images via Adelaide Now]