Ayrton Senna was 25 years old when he arrived at Estoril for the 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix. This was his 17th Grand Prix weekend and his second race for Lotus. The race was held on April 21, 1985.
On Saturday, Senna took his first pole position in dry conditions with a 1:21.007. His lap time was 0.413 seconds faster than that of Alain Prost’s McLaren, who lined up second, and 1.152 seconds faster than that of his teammate Elio de Angelis, who lined up fourth.
The heavens opened come race day, and the grid was minus two cars before the green flag ever flew as the two Alfa Romeos spun off during their reconnaissance laps and were forced to start from the pits.
Ayrton Senna won the race into the first turn while his teammate moved up to second. Keke Rosberg stalled on the grid and was hit by Jonathan Palmer. Both cars would continue but retire later on.
Ayrton Senna lapped up to second during the race, finishing over one minute ahead of Michele Alboreto’s Ferrari. Alain Prost, Gerhard Berger, Riccardo Patrese and others all failed to finish due to the conditions.
Ayrton Senna arrived back in parc ferme to the cheers of his team, including Team Manager Peter Warr (right). The race had been shortened by three laps - from 70 to 67 - as it had run to the two-hour-long time limit. It was the first “Grand Slam” of Senna’s career - with him taking pole, leading every lap, setting the fastest lap, and winning the race.
First of many
This was Senna’s first of 41 career wins in his all-too-short career. His second win would come 11 races later racing for Lotus at the 1985 Belgian GP.