Sports Letters: Senna's driving

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The Independent Online
Sir: When will Derick Allsop learn that our admiration for Nigel Mansell as a driver is rightly founded on a true appreciation of the quality of his rivals and not by recycling long-exploded smears at their expense? He again (1 December) asserts that Ayrton Senna admitted he drove Alain Prost off the track in the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix. Since the contrary view of John Surtees is not good enough for him, let me remind him of what James Hunt wrote in the Independent last year:

'Senna is being pilloried for saying he deliberately took Prost off - which he did not say, nor did he do. On that occasion Prost, too, said there was no way he was going to give way, yet there was nothing like the furore (that arose) over this similar admission by Senna.' (9 November 1991)

As Maurice Hamilton also pointed out, in reviewing the 1990 season, it wasn't just that Senna won that year on the number of points; he was consistently faster than Prost and spent the vast majority of 1990's racing miles in the lead. Being faster is what motor sport is ultimately about: that was what made Nigel Mansell so popular long before he secured his richly deserved title, and which has made Senna by common consent the finest driver of his generation.

Yours faithfully,