Sunday afternoon's Brazilian GP held much promise for the nephew of the mercurial Ayrton Senna, however, Renault's Bruno Senna failed to capitalise on his sensational ninth position in qualifying, which was a victory in itself.
Instead the local hero was abruptly brought back down to earth thanks to a number of factors all contributing to a disastrous Sunday afternoon.
All seemed to be going according to plan for Senna as the Renault driver maintained his ninth position from the start into the opening laps. It was on lap ten where the Brazilian's race began to unravel, however, after making double contact with the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher - no doubt whetting the appetite of the nostalgic fan - with the later of the two hits puncturing the rear left tyre of Ayrton's former nemesis.
In terms of damage, Senna came away relatively unscathed, albeit with a slighty tweaked front wing endplate, while the seven-time champion faced an agonising lap as he nursed his hobbled Silver Arrow back to the pits. The Brazilian, however, would soon face a drive-thru' penalty which would drop him down the order.
The Renault ace's afternoon was further compromised thanks to a gearbox problem which saw his R31 lose fourth, putting paid to any chance of climbing back up the order. Tyre degradation also played a part in his downfall after having to swap over to a three-stop strategy as opposed to his original two-stop race plan.
Senna eventually ended his home GP in 17th.
“What can I say – it's been quite a difficult day and the overall feeling is one of disappointment," he said, "I started the race in a healthy position on the grid and I was hoping to capitalise on that, but there were many difficulties preventing us from having a better race, namely the incident with Michael and the gearbox problems.
"I would love to have given my home fans something to smile about, but unfortunately it was not to be.”
The young Brazilian now faces a fierce battle to keep his Renault seat, a battle which may turn out to be in vain as GP2 champion Roman Grosjean looks to have all but sealed the sought-after seat.
by Simon Evans