Rain Master No. 1: Jackie Stewart
Won the toughest high-water battle in the history of racing – Nürburgring 1968 – with a four-minute (!) lead over Hill and Rindt. The rain washed mud onto the track, visibility was zero because of the fog. But Stewart and his Tyrrell glided through the flood like a submarine with echo sounding.
Rain Master No. 2:Ayrton Senna
In his first year in F1 racing, 1984, he drove into second place in the rain at Monaco in his hopelessly outclassed Toleman-Hart. And he would have won, too, had the race not been abandoned on the last lap. In April 1985, at the Portuguese Grand Prix in Estoril, “The Magic” was finally born. A rain front descended on the Atlantic coast, but Ayrton drove his black Lotus as if the track were dry as a bone. Effortlessly, he lapped the others inside and out, probably wondering if he hadn’t mistakenly entered a Formula 2 race.
From that day on, Prost, Piquet and Rosberg had slight panic attacks every time they heard the name “Senna”. And then there was Donington Park in 1993: Senna’s first lap in the rain is considered one of the best ever driven in Formula 1. He braked later than the others and fought his way from fourth place to the lead in just four kilometers. How was it possible not to lose control of the car in the process? There is no real answer to this question. It is a mystery – much like how migratory birds find their way from northern Europe to South Africa and back without GPS or Google Earth.
Rain Master No. 3: Stefan Bellof
Finished third behind Senna on the 1984 Monte Carlo slip and slide – with 300 hp less in his neck than the drivers of the top teams. In the rain, his talent counted for much more than the Tyrrell’s weak engine power. The experts all agree: Bellof was a driving genius who would have been Germany’s first F1 world champion long before Michael Schumacher – had he survived that accident during the Spa endurance race in 1985. But the experts also agree: There was no surviving that accident (passing in Eau Rouge!)