GP PREVIEWS

F1 Racing - - CONTENTS -

Bel­gian and Ital­ian Grands Prix

THE MAIN EVENT

Mo­tor rac­ing has been tak­ing place along the roads of Bel­gium’s high fens for 95 years. And whether you stay in one of the vil­lages of Malm­edy, Stavelot, Fran­cor­champs or Spa it­self, you can­not es­cape the sense of his­tory.

The big­gest draw is the race­track it­self. Take a drive around the old cir­cuit, which ex­tends from Les Combes to Blanchi­mont, and you be­gin to ap­pre­ci­ate the brav­ery of the driv­ers who used to drive flat-out in frag­ile ma­chin­ery around these daunt­ing pub­lic roads. To­day’s mod­ernised GP track, with cor­ners such as Eau Rouge and Pouhon, still thrills driv­ers and spec­ta­tors alike.

Then there’s the fickle weather, which can usu­ally be re­lied on to mix things up. The na­ture of the cli­mate in the Haute Fagnes re­gion can throw up swel­ter­ing sun­shine one day, then fog and pour­ing rain the next.

Fi­nally, there’s the re­cent in­flux of Max Verstappen fans, with his Dutch army flock­ing across the bor­der to give the venue a party at­mos­phere. All in all, it’s a heady con­coc­tion.

CLAS­SIC RACE: 1995

Un­pre­dictable weather dom­i­nated this race. Qual­i­fy­ing pro­duced a mixed-up grid with the Fer­raris of Ger­hard Berger and Jean Alesi in P1 and P2, while ti­tle ri­vals Da­mon Hill and Michael Schu­macher were P8 and P16. When rain struck in the race, Schu­macher stayed on slicks and kept wet-shod Hill be­hind with some very ro­bust driv­ing. Schu­macher won, and Hill went to find him pos­trace to ex­press his dis­plea­sure. The stew­ards agreed and gave Schumi a one-race ban, sus­pended for four races.

RACE DATA

Cir­cuit name Cir­cuit de Spa-Fran­cor­champs

First GP 1950 Num­ber of laps 44 Cir­cuit length 7.002km Race dis­tance 307.987km Lap record 1m 47.263s Se­bas­tian Vet­tel (2009) F1 races held 49 Win­ners from pole 17 Tyres Ul­tra­soft, su­per­soft, soft

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