Senna was our hero. He started as a nobody. Upper-middle class boy, it is true, but a nobody from a third world country in the world of Formula 1. He stood out in karting, then came to Formula 1 in 84 and soon showed everyone he had come to stay. He surprised everyone with his geniality. In wet circuits, he was king. He won three world championships and more pole positions than any racing driver in history. Ayrton became the great phenomenon of Formula 1. He was a fighter who came, saw and conquered. But he never forgot Brazil, this suffering and injusticed country. Our flag was something he always carried with pride. The rich boy didn't even forget the poor of his country. In secret, he donated fortunes to our poor children, and when he was still alive, created what would be called the Instituto Ayrton Senna.Can I imagine my childhood without seeing Senna racing - and winning? I can not. Sunday was the day to go to church and watch Ayrton win. Win and carry, with pride, our flag with him. At a time when we had so little to be proud of in this country, every victory of his was a victory of the Brazilian people.
And those of us who lived through the 90s will never forget the words of Roberto Cabrini, "Ayrton Senna da Silva is dead. News we never wanted to give. Ayrton Senna da Silva is dead." A black day in the history of Brazil. A black day in my history.
He was gone so early, but he left his mark on every Brazilian - the message that we who are born on this Tupiniquim land can be somebody.
Senna was and always will be the great hero of my childhood.