Sebastian Vettel is often credited with looking to follow in Michael Schumacher's footsteps in Formula 1, but the Ferrari driver has revealed that Ayrton Senna played just as important a role in sparking his love of the sport.
Schumacher's excellence in the 1990's and 2000's left a lasting impression on a young Vettel, but the German names Senna as the driver with the greatest Formula 1 legacy.
"It's very hard to pick your first memory, but the first images I saw that were linked to Formula 1 was when he raced [in Brazil] and he won," Vettel told Auto Bild in 2019. "Even though he lost a lot of gears, he was exhausted and he nearly couldn't lift the trophy.
"The images of that car, the Marlboro car, was very iconic. My father was a huge fan of Ayrton Senna so those are the reasons why, like you intend to follow what your parents follow at that age so he was watching Formula 1 and I followed.
"So for me, he was the first person I linked to Formula 1. I think his legacy is probably the biggest or greatest that one could leave to the sport.
While Senna is remembered for his ruthless on-track nature, he is also remembered for his generous and very human persona away from the circuit, a quality that Vettel holds in high regard.
"It was not his successes that left a profound impression, but the person behind it," continued Vettel. "He had incredible talent in the car, but he was also a very humble guy. He took this attitude into the racing car and that made him stronger than the others."
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