Grid: 2 Race: 1
(Speaking in 2011) I was always a great admirer of Ayrton. I had seen him at a karting race, back in Zolder, and this guy I didn't know at that time immediately caught my attention: the lines he was driving, the way he was doing it, I just loved the way he was karting there.
From that day on I knew his name, and obviously when he entered F1 I still looked at him. And when I got to F1 it was the same, I just loved the way he was driving. So in a way Ayrton was my idol, even if I wasn't happy at first with his approach towards young drivers when I entered F1. But this was part of the game, so it was no big deal.
The 1994 season started surprisingly well for us, and we found ourselves in the position to eventually fight for the championship which was great, obviously. I looked forward to fighting against Ayrton and Imola was the next step in this fight.
I saw his accident but I wasn't informed what had happened. So at first, I wasn't aware of the consequences. But when I heard about it, I remember it was a deep shock. You know, it might sound strange, but that weekend, with Roland Ratzenberger and Senna dying, was the first time for me that I experienced that somebody found death through the sport I loved so much.