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F1weekly podcast number 523
History of the Belgian Grand Prix with Nasir Hameed.
Belgian Grand Prix. One of the seven races on the original Formula 1 calendar. The inaugural Belgian Grand Prix in 1950 was won by Juan Manuel Fangio in an Alfa Romeo. Fastest lap of the race was set by Nino Farina in another Alfa.
Seventh in a Talbot Lago was French driver Pierre Levegh; who would later perish at Le Mans in 1955 with over 80 spectators.
Nino Farina won the second running of the Belgian Grand Prix in 1951 with the Ferrari of Alberto Ascari in second.
In 1953, it was a Ferrari one-two with Ascari winning over Farina. Finishing 11th was English driver Lance Macklin; it was his car at Le Mans 1955 that was hit by the Mercedes of Levegh.
Italian cars took the top four positions in the 1953 event. Ascari was the winner again over Ferrari teammate Luigi Villoresi. In third place was the Maserati of Argentine Onofre Marimon; he was a close friend of Fangio and was later killed at the Nurburgring
Maserati took the top honours in 1954 with Fangio at the wheel. Another Maserati was seventh driven by Prince Bira of Thailand. Today there is a circuit named in his honor in his native country.
1955. Two in a row for the Maestro; this time in a Mercedes. His teammate Stirling Moss was second.
1956. First Grand Prix win for Peter Collins from Kidderminster. His Ferrari teammate Paul Frere was second. Fourth was Paris-born American Harry Schell in a Vanwall.
There was no Belgian Grand Prix in 1957.
Tony Brooks was the winner in 1958 in a Vanwall.
His teammate Stuart Lewis Evans was third and would later suffer fatal burns in the final race of the season in Casablanca. His manager was ex-racer Bernard Ecclestone, today known as Bernie.
Finishing 10th was Italian lady driver Maria Teresa de Filippis.
In 1959, the year of the first US Grand Prix in Sebring, there was no GP at Spa.
The 1960 Belgian Grand Prix was the Imola 1994 of the decade. Two British drivers were killed in the race. Chris Bristow was killed at Malmedy and five laps later Alan Stacey was hit in the face by a bird at Masta and crashed fatally.
Cooper Climax drivers occupied the podium. Jack Brabham was the winner over Bruce McLaren and local driver Olivier Gendebien. Another Belgian driver Lucien Bianchi was sixth, also in a Cooper Climax. Today the grandson of his brother Mauro races in GP2 – Jules Bianchi.
1961. First American success at Spa in F1. Phil Hill leads a Ferrari one-two-three. Wolfgang von Trips was second and Richie Ginther third. Dan Gurney was sixth for Porsche.
1962. A tremendous drive by Jim Clark to win his first GP. Graham Hill was second over the American Hill in third.
1963. A very impressive international podium. Winner, Jim Clark. Second, Bruce McLaren. Third, Dan Gurney.
Three in a row for Jim Clark in 1964. Peter Revson was disqualified.
Four in a row for Jimmy in 1965. Jackie Stewart was second and on the podium Jimmy asked Jackie ‘are you okay’ as this was Stewart’s first full year in Formula 1 and he was concerned about his friend at a high speed track.
1966. John Surtees was the winner in a Ferrari. Jochen Rindt was second. Third was Lorenzo Bandini; he would perish the following year in a fiery accident in Monte Carlo.
Also in the race was Guy Ligier, later famous for the beautiful blue Gitanes Ligier Matra and Bob Bondurant, later famous for his racing school located in Arizona.
The Santa Ana win. The Eagle flies in the Belgian forest in 1967. Dan Gurney takes an historic win in his Eagle powered by a Weslake engine. One of only three men to win a championship GP in their own cars. Stewart was second and Chris Amon was third.
One of the other men was Bruce McLaren, and he would drive his own car to victory at Spa in 1968. Pedro Rodriguez of Mexico was second and local talent Jacky Ickx was third.
No race in 1969.
Pedro Rodriguez scored the second and final win of his career in the 1970 Belgian Grand Prix in a BRM. Third and fourth place finishers, Jean Pierre Beltoise and Ignazio Giunti, would meet again in a very tragic and fatal way. It was in the Buenos Aires 1000km race in 1971 that he would hit the Matra sports car of Beltoise as he was pushing the car across the track after running out of fuel.
Two Belgian Grands Prix have been staged at Nivelles, in 1972 & ’74. Both were won by Emerson Fittipaldi.
Zolder entered the picture in 1973 and Jackie Stewart was the winner. It hosted the Belgian Grand Prix from 1975 to 1982, when tragedy struck and popular Ferrari star Gilles Villeneuve was lost after colliding with the slower car of Jochen Mass. The race was won by John Watson in a McLaren.
Since 1985 when Senna was the winner in a Lotus, Spa has been the home of the Belgian Grand Prix. He would win the race four years in a row from 1988-1991. And 1991 was the year which saw the dramatic debut German sports car racer; Michael Schumacher who would go on to win the race six times.
And would play a part in one the greatest passes seen in Formula 1 courtesy of Mika Hakkinen.
Greetings and Burnenville regards.
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