If the spirit of motor-racing distilled down to its purest form is about man and machine going as fast as possible, the driver eking out every last ounce of performance from himself and his car, then qualifying is the perfect expression of this spirit.
Very rarely are races as intense as qualifying – they can’t possibly be – when a driver is competing as much against himself and the clock as against his rivals, willing himself on to go faster and faster, nudging ever closer to the limit, that fine line on the other side of which disaster lurks.
Perhaps no driver in the history of Formula One has ever grasped this better than Ayrton Senna.
I’m going to throw in a quick disclaimer...
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