Tributes paid to Senna, 30yrs since death at Imola

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Formula One fans and politicians gathered at Italy’s Imola circuit on Wednesday to pay tribute to triple world champion Ayrton Senna, who was killed in a high-speed crash 30 years ago during the San Marino Grand Prix.

Fans carrying the Brazilian flag walked along the track before a minute’s silence was held at 3.17 p.m. local time (9.17 a.m. ET) at the Tamburello corner to mark the time of the crash which cost the charismatic Brazilian his life aged just 34.

“Senna was a very important person for all Brazilians, a very humble person, very dedicated with great values who taught us great lessons” said Renata Ewbank, a Senna fan from Brazil.

“And we still miss him deeply today,” she added.

The fans also remembered Austrian Roland Ratzenberger, who had been killed the day before Senna died after an accident in qualifying. The deadly weekend in 1994 triggered a major safety review, changing the sport forever.

Bruno Senna, nephew of the champion and a former F1 driver, was among the crowd, along with Ratzenberger’s parents.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, as well as his Brazilian and Austrian counterparts Mauro Vieira and Alexander Schallenberg also attended the ceremony at the circuit.

Floral tributes were laid at Tamburello after the minute’s silence, with fans and security personnel breaking into applause. Scarves, flowers and candles were also placed on a statue of Senna at Imola.

Senna, driving for Williams, had started the race on pole, with Michael Schumacher alongside in a Benetton.

The safety car was swiftly deployed after Portugal’s Pedro Lamy ploughed into JJ Lehto’s stalled Benetton on the grid. Shortly after the restart, Senna’s car speared into a concrete wall at Tamburello.

The Brazilian was flown to hospital while the race was restarted and won by Schumacher. At 6:40 p.m. local time, nearly two and a half hours later, it was announced that Senna had died.

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