May 1, 1994 – F1 driver Ayrton Senna da Silva dies in a wreck at San Marino GP

Tragedy struck on this day in 1994 at the San Marino Grand Prix when Brazilian Formula One driver Ayrton Senna da Silva was killed in a crash while leading the race. At the time of his death, he held a record six victories at the Monaco Grand Prix, and was the fifth-most successful F1 driver of all time in terms of race wins. 

Senna attracted controversy throughout his career, particularly during his turbulent rivalry with Alain Prost. For example, at both the Japanese Grand Prix of 1989 and 1990, the championship deciding race that year between the two, Senna and Prost collided, resulting in Prost taking home the championships.  Senna’s death was considered by many of his Brazilian fans to be a national tragedy, and the Brazilian government declared three days of national mourning.

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