Come on, Prost had easily the best car and was partnered by a total rookie, while Mansell had easily the best car and was partnered by a journeyman; their dominance in those seasons is hardly evidence of them being at their peak. I agree that talent wanes at slightly different ages with different drivers, but on the whole you cannot claim it 'likely' that Senna aged 38/39 would have been as good as Senna aged 29/30.
Hill wasn't a total rookie, yet I agree he was still rapidly developing his F1 driving skills. Anyway, my point was not that Prost was in his peak in 93, but IMO he still was in 88-90, my point was to show that he didn't lost any status by racing 93 when he was already with 38yo. And Mansell is rated higher thanks his 92 season. If he had retired in 90 like he had said he would he wouldn't have the same status. And I do think 92 was his best season even knowing he had a rocketship.
And I did not claim Senna would perform as good as he did in 93 even when he aged 38/39 but depending how things happened for him he could very well keep his status as he could see his status fade away.
Prost didn´t have a really convincing season that year (by the standards for an all time great). Not only compared to Senna, but also to Hill. Let´s not forget, that Prost was hired as clear No.1 (e.g. they applied team orders in Barcelona) and that Hill was a rookie - which was quite noticeable at the season´s beginning. But as the season progressed, Hill was able to put Prost more and more under pressure. He could´ve won 5 races in a row at mid-season, without his two retirements, while leading the race. If neither of them hadn´t had any tech-related retirements Prost might´ve likely finished the season with just ~10 points ahead of Hill. That isn´t "complete superiority" in my book.
Regarding 88/89: Of course at that time Prost´s age wasn´t a limiting factor and i see no reason to think, that Prost wasn´t at (or close to) the top of his game in 1988. But in 1989 he was far away from being at his peak in terms of pure perfomance in pace. Gerhard Berger showed better speed next to Senna in the following years than Prost did in that particular season.
Ps. As you mentioned 92,93, 96. That are all WDCs in really dominant cars. As that is regularly portrayed as a quite uninspiring achievement (Schumacher might be the prime example, as no one really mentiones 2002 or 2004 as the main example to underline his qualities) i wonder, why such a WDC would changed something for Senna´s legacy.
Ok, it wasn't a complete superiority but it didn't change how Prost was rated as a driver at all.
I don't agree with you about 89. I agree that it was not Prost best performance (ironically is the one he won against Senna) but in no way Berger showed better speed or Alain worse performance was duo to his age. The year after 90, he performed better than in 89 in my opinion. Berger in 90 couldn't win one time, his 2 poles were in mixed conditions qualifying (more duo to luck than anything else), and the only time he finished ahead Senna was because Ayrton hit Nakajima. In 90, McLaren and Ferrari cars were very similar in performance (at least IMO) and look what Prost did and what Berger did.
Never said a WDC in a dominant car would have changed Senna's legacy.
Just my opinion here but going for a what if, supposing 1994 accident had never happened we have 3 most possible outcomes
1)Senna is WDC in 94, 95, 96, 97 and becomes an even bigger legend than today.
2)Senna loses only the 95 championship and is seen pretty much as he is today.
3)Senna wins only 96 and he would have a worse reputation than today.
what would happen? Better ask god for an answer because no one can be certain, and so, no one can say if Senna's legacy would be smaller or bigger than it is todays.
What I am saying is that 25-34 are approximately the peak years for drivers. People have certainly won races and championships outside those years. Prost won his championships at the ages of 30, 31, 34 and 38 (clearly past peak). Senna's were achieved at the ages of 28, 30 and 31. Schumachers were at 25, 26 and 31-35.
Senna could have won a championship with the 96 Williams (assuming Schumacher had still gone to Ferrari having won the previous two WDCs).
Mansell was in a dominant car, and I certainly don't think 1992 was his best year (1987 was) or that it greatly changed his status.
Yes. I would say his absolute peak was 1984 and that his peak period extended up to 1986/1987.
The era we are speculating about is post Imola 1994, and the opponent would have been Michael Schumacher who had nine years on Senna. You have been highlighting the fact that, before this, Senna had mainly been competing with drivers who were over five years older than him.
Anyone up for a list of WDC based on age? My feeling is that the vast majority were between 28 and 35 and I believe these are the years of peak performance for most drivers.
We gonna agree to disagree about Mansell. IMO 87 was his 2nd best (very close to 92 but still...).
So you think Prost was in his absolute best before even be WDC when he lost to someone that was way past his peak and then after his peak he went to become 4xWDC? Thanks god Prost didn't stop racing at his peak.
Hill had the same age as Senna and was 9 years older than Schumacher. We know how he lost 94, 95 he was 2nd, 96 he won and we don't know how would he perform in 97 if Williams had kept him.
Because this last decade we saw a bunch of youngsters been WDC I believe people started to think their peak are at a younger age, but it certainly doesn't correlate to other eras.