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The tragedy at the heart of Williams' 1990s peak

At the height of its mid-1990s success, Williams was laid low by an unforeseen tragedy which changed the face of Formula 1 forever - and robbed it of one of its most fascinating characters. DAMIEN SMITH recalls how the best of times were soured by the worst of times...

Williams was awesome in the middle chunk of the 1990s, winning five constructors' world championships in six seasons - a run back then only McLaren could rival - as Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve joined Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost among its illustrious roster of champion drivers.

But it's the glaring omission from that roll-call that will forever cast a shadow deep and long over the team's most successful era. No amount of race wins and titles could possibly sooth the pain that would engulf Williams following the death of Ayrton Senna.

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