Originally Posted by Ramos
Even Senna confessed he occasionally went too far, as was the case in qualifying for the 1988 Monaco Grand Prix, where he became a passenger on a surreal ride into the unknown. Already on pole, he went faster and faster and was eventually over two seconds quicker than Prost in an identical McLaren. "Suddenly, it frightened me," Ayrton said, "because I realised I was well beyond my conscious understanding. I drove back slowly to the pits and did not go out anymore that day."
This reminds me of a story I had once read. And, thru the magic of Google, I can share the story with everyone here.
An incident in Dallas two weeks later highlighted Senna’s incredible precision and talent even early in his F1 career.
Pat Symonds, the executive director of engineering with the Mild Seven Renault team these days, was Senna’s race engineer at Toleman in 1984.
“Dallas was what I would call ‘an old fashioned’ North American street circuit, lined with big concrete blocks,” Symonds said. “It was a very tricky circuit and bumpy enough to make even Monaco look smooth! After qualifying well, and running as high as fourth, Ayrton Senna eventually had to retire with damage caused by hitting the wall.
“On returning to the pits, he seemed shocked that he could have hit the wall. His immediate reaction was, ‘I know I didn’t make a mistake – the wall must have moved!’ The concrete block in question weighed about 20 tons, and we were naturally skeptical, but he was so persistent that he actually persuaded me to walk around the circuit and take a look.
“When I did so, the wall had indeed moved – somebody had clearly clipped the previous block and in doing so, displaced the next one by only about 4 millimeters (0.16 of an inch), so the transition between the two blocks was no longer smooth but marked with a tiny step.
“That was when the precision to which he was driving really hit home for me. Don’t forget that this was a guy in his first season of Formula One, straight out of Formula 3.”