Ayrton Senna wasn’t just a racing driver.
He wasn’t just a three-time Formula One world champion, and his legacy is not only defined by the widely held belief that he was the fastest driver the sport has ever known. His 41 career victories, 80 podiums and 65 pole positions are mere cherries sitting proudly atop the cake.
What made Senna one of the most compelling characters in sporting history, in fact, was not his achievements over the course of the 10-year burst that was his F1 career, but his tongue. It could occasionally be as sharp and brutal as his driving style, but often carried the gentleness and thoughtfulness that epitomised Senna’s off-track demeanour.
His willingness to discuss subjects including sport, religion, life, death and opportunities for children, which led to the opening of the Instituto Ayrton Senna in November 1994, meant the prospect of listening to the Brazilian was almost as satisfying an experience as watching Senna thrash a McLaren-Honda around the streets of Monaco.
Senna wasn’t just a racing driver. He was a philosopher, a maverick, a source of wisdom.