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Senna and McLaren were a driver and team co-defined. Senna’s imperial phase and three world championships all came with the Woking squad. Before McLaren his teams were a means to an end. Afterwards, he looked lost. As for McLaren itself, well despite the steely self-possession of its image, there are people there who were genuinely heart-broken when he left.

Many of them speak at length, movingly and often amusingly, in the new book, ‘Ayrton Senna’, by legendary F1 writer Maurice Hamilton. Since his death 20 years ago, Senna has morphed into an icon of pop culture on a par with James Dean or Jim Morrison, a subject so thoroughly strip-mined it’s a wonder there’s anything left to say.

Fortunately, Hamilton’s book – written with the co-operation of McLaren and the Senna Foundation, which receives a donation from every copy sold – adds to the mountain of literature on the man by talking to the people who worked with him that we rarely hear from, as well as featuring previously unseen images, and insightful analysis from all the usual suspects.

One McLaren employee found himself desperately pushing his CV after hours through the door of the company’s original HQ – there was no letterbox – only to realise that it was Senna himself on the other side beckoning him on. Apparently, he’d been using the reception area phone to call his family in Brazil…

Ayrton Senna by Maurice Hamilton, from Blink Publishing, is available now from all the usual outlets, priced £35.00, and here are just some of the fine pictures you can find within, kindly provided by the publishers.

Pictures: Fujio Hara

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