Many of you enjoyed our take on the best British GP’s in celebration of Silverstone 2019, so this week we thought we’d stay on familiar territory with the much-loved Spa Francorchamps taking place this weekend. The Belgian GP has had its fair share of memorable moments from an all-star cast of drivers and manufacturers, but we think we’ve done it justice by picking out 5 of the best Formula One Grand Prix to take place on Belgian soil. As always, this is in no order and if you think we seriously dropped the ball and missed any out, let us know in the comments section below!
1998 – Schumacher and Coulthard Clash on and off the track
Nevermind one of the most memorable Belgian GP’s, the 1998 race at Spa Francorchamps was one of the most action-packed Grand Prix races ever. Like all memorable races, it featured drama both on and off the tarmac. After Schumacher slammed straight into the back of Coulthard due to poor visibility, in the pits the German driver accused Coulthard of “trying to f*cking kill me” and then went on to allegedly threaten to kill Coulthard for doing so. In the race itself, the adverse weather conditions caused a massive pile-up early on, with Damon Hill and Ralf Schumacher going on to take a 1-2 victory for Jordan. It was later revealed that team orders had been issued to stop Ralf Schumacher from overtaking his British teammate. Elsewhere, Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard met in private to reconcile. Thankfully Schumacher did not follow through on his threat to murder Coulthard and instead the pair joined up to campaign for better clarification on the guidelines for overtaking.
1995 – Schumacher Masterclass
The 1995 Belgian Grand Prix was about one man only really, and that man was Michael Schumacher. In a disastrous wet-dry qualifying session, he managed the lowest grid position in his entire career; a measly 16th. The race would be quite different. To cut a long story short, Schumacher stormed to an incredible victory despite his awful grid position. Not everybody was thrilled with how he raced though, as Damon Hill remarked that he was ‘not satisfied being driven into’. Schumacher was ultimately given a one race suspended ban for driving aggressively to stop Hill from overtaking.
1985 – Senna’s Belgian Debut
The 1985 Belgian Grand Prix saw Ayrton Senna drive his first-ever race on Belgian soil, and what a race it was. It was Senna’s second world championship victory and the first of five illustrious victories at Spa-Francorchamps. Much of the race featured an intense duel between Alain Prost and Senna until the Brazilian maestro managed to take full control from the Frenchman in pole position and see off a brief challenge from Nigel Mansell, to finish the race 28 seconds ahead of the British lion.
2000 – The Flying Finn Downs the Red Baron
The 2000 Belgian Grand Prix featured a thrilling duel between two well-loved drivers in the world of motorsport, Mika Häkkinen and Michael Schumacher. The Finnish driver had incredibly fallen behind early on despite taking pole position but still managed to battle on and win in breathtaking style. Perhaps most memorable was his outstanding move to overtake Schumacher, in which he moved through a tight inside space to take the lead. It’s a maneuver that will live long in the memories of F1 and motorsport fans around the world. Häkkinen’s victory increased his overall lead in the driver’s championship to 7 points, although he would eventually lose out to the Red Baron by the seasons’ end.
2008 – A Moral Victory for Lewis Hamilton
The 2008 Belgian GP at Spa Francorchamps was a thrilling spectacle from start to finish, heavily featuring two big fan favourites, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikonnen. The Ice Man looked set to get his fourth consecutive win at a circuit he had personally claimed to be his favourite of all time. But, a late downpour allowed Hamilton to display his excellent wet weather driving ability and go after Kimi for the lead. After a sensational wheel-to-wheel duel Hamilton ended up taking the lead after Kimi crashed. Unfortunately, the steward’s decision to strip him of his epic victory put a bitter note on an otherwise fantastic Belgian Grand Prix.
Thanks again for dropping by and taking the time to read the latest Rear View Prints blog. Please leave us a comment on the website or in the DriveTribe comment section, wherever you are reading. If you’re a fan of the Belgian Grand Prix and the legendary Spa circuit, you can buy our popular print of the track here. You can also follow us on twitter, facebook, and Instagram. Until next time!