1985 was Ayrton Senna’s first complete season. After impressing everyone during his maiden season last year in the Toleman, Senna got a chance with Team Lotus for his 1985 season. The first round was in Brazil, Senna’s home race, where he couldn’t even see the chequered flag. While there were some who questioned his move to Lotus, his former team was in an even more disarray after failing to get a tyre manufacturer on board.
Lotus’ issues were severe during the second round, that is the Portuguese Grand Prix as well. The race was held in Estoril, Portugal. During the practice sessions, Senna had to move into a spare car due to mechanical issues, but the spare one had a clutch fault itself. Senna went into the Qualifying with very little preparation for the race. Surprisingly, he dominated the Qualifying sessions, topping both of them, ahead of Alain Prost in his McLaren. He out-qualified his teammate by a massive 1.1s and secured the first pole of his career.
It was just a beginning of a whole new era. Who knew at that time that this young Brazilian will follow this pole position with 64 more.
Before the race, there were heavy downpours which meant that the race was expected to be chaotic. Senna had earned the reputed title of “rain master” after his brilliant performance in the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix and everyone expected a frantic result from him again. He led comfortably during the start of the race and had a good gap over the second place de Angelis. Behind him, it was total chaos.
Those caught in the tricky conditions were the likes of Keke Rosberg, Riccardo Patrese, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell to name a few.
As the race progressed, the weather conditions worsened, but Senna’s gap was still increasing over the rest of the field. His teammate, de Angelis was in the second place followed closely by Alain Prost. By half race distance, there were pools of water all over the track.
Keke Rosberg was involved in a big accident that broke off his thumb. On lap 30, Prost retired as well after hitting the barriers. Senna was showing a fierce pace as the rest of the pack was falling apart behind him.
All this while, Senna, despite being in the lead was waving his hands at the marshals to stop the race considering how dangerously wet it was. But, nobody listened to him and the race kept on going. He was constantly increasing his lead.
It was only until the final stages of the race that Senna eased off and stopped pushing his car to the limit. Such was his dominance over the rest of the field, that he was able to lap every car except Michele Alboreto, the man running in second position, who was none the less more than a minute behind.
It was the first victory for the young Brazilian, Ayrton Senna who had managed to impress everyone even more with the fantastic show of pace, stability and control. He further solidified his title of the ‘rain master’, with a display of talent like this.
What a talent he was.