SENNA: Widely regarded as the greatest driver to have ever lived, Senna’s victories speak for themselves. With three titles from 41 separate victories and 80 podium places, he was definitely up there.
HAMILTON: How to top a racing legacy like Senna? Ask Lewis Hamilton. One more championship win and a staggering 62 victories, if Hamilton retired tomorrow his stats would still be hard to beat.
SENNA: A champion’s defined by those he beats, and if there’s one man that made for electric racing action as Senna it was Alain Prost. Their on-track antics are the stuff of legends, with Prost among those most devastated by Senna’s death.
HAMILTON: Rivalries just aren’t what they used to be. There’s no Senna vs Prost, no Hunt vs Lauda. The closest to a true rival for Hamilton is probably Fernando Alonso, but Lewis himself also cites Vettel and Verstappen. Three times the rivals, one third the interest.
Off The Track
SENNA: He was more than a hero driver and did something with his fame, raising awareness of poverty in his home country of Brazil and donating $400 million to help poor children.
HAMILTON: He’s making a killing, but there’s nothing altruistic in his off-track antics. Who can blame him? Still, where one driver gave away $400 million, Hamilton moved to Switzerland then Monaco to save a similar amount.
SENNA: Living close to the edge on the track, Senna was as relaxed as could be in his style. Loafers, open shirts and a casually elegant air made him the one to beat on the rack as well as the track.
HAMILTON: Streetwear and lots of it – Hamilton loves a good pair of trainers. When he pushes the boat out he can teach most men about making a statement with eye-catching tailoring.
SENNA: If you’ve seen their limited editions in his honour, it won’t come as a surprise that Senna was a fan of TAG Heuer. The most famous is his 1990s TAG Heuer S/el with a / 100th second Chronograph, but he had more. Funnily enough, his commercial deal with TAG Heuer was announced two days before his final race.
HAMILTON: We love a guy that loves his watches, and Hamilton’s relationship with IWC is more than a passing commercial deal. Every watch he gets goes straight on his social channels, though he keeps returning to his gold version of IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun.
SENNA: He was and still is a legend. His death changed the face of motorsport, he helped millions in Brazil, and to this day Williams F1 cars still carry tributes to the man. If that’s not one hell of a legacy, nothing is. They might never be able to hit the race track outside of a racing fan’s greatest fantasy, but these two titans of the tarmac have legacies that can’t help but be compared. On the one hand we have the petrol-laced prodigy whose career was cut short; on the other the very definition of a modern champion.
HAMILTON: He is an undeniable tour de force in racing, inspiring future champions as the face of British motorsport. His is also a legacy that’s still very much being written and, with his retirement looming, write it he shall.
Was there ever any doubt? On paper, Hamilton is one of the world’s greatest champions, eclipsing Senna in terms of number of wins, both in races and championships. But he’s not Senna. Yes, a good part of the reason is the way Senna went out, but a greater part is the man he was. Lewis Hamilton is an icon; Ayrton Senna da Silva is a legend.