Twenty years ago this morning, Formula 1 drivers were invincible. Rubens Barrichello had proved it a day earlier by surviving a sickening impact with the fence at Imola's Variante Bassa.
He was back in the paddock on Saturday morning, unable to race but with only swelling to the nose and lacerations to the mouth. Today, the Brazilian's crash is seen as part of the grim narrative of that dark weekend, yet in the hours before Roland Ratzenberger's fatal accident Barrichello was a living, breathing tribute to modern grand prix car safety even though fellow drivers were shocked by the ferocity of the impact.
Thursday marks the 20th anniversary of Ayrton Senna's death, the last time a driver was killed on a grand prix weekend. Given the incredible escapes witnessed during those two decades, many feel that it will be the last.
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