“Now I Know I Can Do It.”
Before beginning the 1985 season with Lotus, Senna did a little Nürburging. By that, I mean that he raced twice at Nürburg, once in May to celebrate its re-opening and later in the summer for the fourth round of the 1984 World Endurance Championship. At the close of the former, Senna stated “Now I know I can do it.”
While driving for Lotus, Senna proved his world-class caliber almost immediately. The very second round of the season saw his first pole position and first Formula One Grand Prix victory in Portugal (in rainy conditions, no less!), and he would go on to secure a second win in Belgium at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (also in the rain!).
He also demonstrated his lifelong habit of annoying people. At Monaco, his efforts to take the pole led Niki Lauda and Michele Alboreto (the very driver who had come in second to Senna in Portugal) to accuse him of blocking tactics, which Senna hotly denied. However, there was no denying his deteriorating relationship with his partner, Lotus’ star driver Elio de Angelis. By the end of the season, the disgruntled Italian moved to Brabham when it became obvious that Senna would be second to none.
To replace de Angelis, Lotus had their sights on another early-80s wunderkind, Derek Warwick…but Senna voted against him, preferring that Lotus pick up someone not quite in his own league (a move he later professed to regret). Karma may have caught up with him mid-season; after two impressive finishes (a photo-finish win in Spain and a second in Brazil), he fell into a slump that allowed Alain Prost and the top two Williams partners to edge past him in the final standings.
My husband’s best friend is huge Senna fan and his loyalty knows no bounds. I find that counter intuitive because he’s a straight laced lawyer by trade, helping disabled people file for social security disability insurance. Anyone in the legal trade is doing very serious work and while helping disabled with their ssd insurance is admirable, celebrating the victories of Senna often seems so frivolous. So by day he’s seriously talking to desperate people and navigating the bureaucracy of the social security system and by night he’s a raving lunatic, and that seems to be contagious.
When Senna has won in the past there are a few things that happen back here at home. One- my husband and his friends put on football paint and drink shots of whiskey. Two – my 2 year old and his older sister take is toddler car shaped scooter for a “drive” around the block. Three – 5 days later “mysterious” personalized gift baskets will arrive at the house. One that is themed specifically for my husband and his race car obsession and one that is themed for mine. He always acts like it’s such a strange thing that these presents arrive at the house, but I’m fairly certain he and his buddies send them over. I’ve caught he’s best friend Phil asking about the specific kind of wine in the basket before we had even opened up the box!