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#105 1962 Belgian Grand Prix

2021-09-05 00:00

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#1962,

#105 1962 Belgian Grand Prix

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The Belgian Grand Prix is run on June 17th, 1962 on the circuit of Spa-Francorchamps. It is one of the most anticipated events of this championship. In fact, the Spa track puts to the test the new engines that have to maintain the highest gears for a considerable period of time. During the first two races of the season, Ferrari was seriously struggling. This is because the Italian chassis is not as reliable as the English manufacturers’ ones. The Italian team is considered the favorite on the Belgian circuit, a track that allows an average speed of over 200 km/h. Maranello has more powerful engines compared to Lotus and B.R.M. The organization of the Grand Prix, in order to attract more spectators on the qualifying day, adopts the same registration system that was used in Monaco. The maximum number of participants is limited to nineteen drivers, of which sixteen are officially invited by the organization itself. However, this system fails. A few days before the Grand Prix, the number of participants in the race weekend is drastically reduced. Among the absentees are Porsche, back with the updates of their car due to some strikes of the workers in their factory, and a Lola. The team decides to only enroll one car in the race (Surtees’s one), Lewis and Marsh.

 

The Belgium Grand Prix is held at the infamous yet spectacular 14.1 kilometers Spa track. It is located between Francorchamps, Malmedy and Stavelot. It is one of the most eagerly awaited events for the Grand Prix racing fans. This year everyone is looking forward to the Belgian Grand Prix with keen anticipation because it is the first time that the new British V8 engines are wounded up to full song and in top gear for a substantial amount of time. On paper, the entry list is supposed to have sixteen invited drivers. The others have to qualify in order to start the race. However, given that a number of people are not turning up to the event, there is no need to do a qualifying session on Saturday. The two works Porsches are among the cars that are not present at the Spa event. An internal strife, within the German factory, is still holding up their active racing programme. The private B.R.M. owners, Lewis and Marsh, are also not present. Bowmaker enters only one Lola car for this race. After arriving at Spa, Scuderia Ferrari is unable to enter the hotel. The reason being the previous year's account have not been settled. The sports director, Eugenio Dragoni, has to settle the payment personally. After this mishap, the Maranello-based team arrives at Spa with four 120-degree V-6 engined cars.

 

Hill, Mairesse, Baghetti and Rodriguez are driving the four Italian cars whilst it was Baldini’s turn to sit in the pits and watch the race. Three of the cars have new front wishbones with easily adjustable base pivots and wider rear wishbones. Rodriguez is the only one to use a rear roll-bar. The cars are virtually the same as last year. In fact, the new chassis, which has the forward-mounted gearbox, is not used. In addition, there is no sign of the new 4-valve cylinder heads. The two works B.R.M.s do not bring any upgrades after the practice sessions in Monaco. Graham Hill has a new engine at the back of his usual car, after the monumental blow-up in the previous race. It has a low-level exhaust system. Ginther has the new car with the 6-speed Colotti gearbox and a redesigned bell-housing since Monaco. The Team Lotus drivers, Clark and Taylor, drive the Coventry-Climax V8 engines cars but with a difference. One engine has the new carburetor layout whilst the other has the old layout. Furthermore, Clark has the sleek monocoque chassis car. On this fast circuit, there is lots of expectations on this chassis to deliver a good result for the Hethel-based team.

 

Cooper arrives at SPA after winning in Monaco. The team finishes off the second Coventry-Climax V8-engined car with the 6-speed Cooper gearbox, knowing that there isn’t much wrong with the car. Maggs is using this brand-new car. The Bowmaker team is only running one Lola-Climax V8 that has a long sleek nose cowling. Surtees is at the wheel of it, fresh from his Mallory Park’s 2,000-guineas win. The UDT-Laystall team has two Lotus 24 cars. Ireland has the Coventry-Climax V8-engined car whilst Gregory is at the wheel of the B.R.M. V8-engined one. Coming into this weekend, the two mentioned drivers have a Whit-Monday victory in order to boost their morale. The Rob Walker team has completely rebuilt the Coventry-Climax V8-engined Lotus 24. After the Monaco crash, the car needs a new chassis frame and new suspensions. Once more, Trintignant is the driver that is at the wheel old 4-cylinder Lotus. It is the same car that Graham Hill had driven at Mallory Park. Previously, it was on loan to Bianchi and the Equipe National Belge. Brabham is driving the bright green Lotus-Climax V8. Siffert is at the wheel of the Lotus-Climax 4-cylinder. Campbell-Jones has the works Emeryson-Climax 4-cylinder. To complete the list, Beaufort drives a private Porsche 4-cylinder. At the last moment, the Seidel team decides to enter a Lotus-B.R.M. V8 for Gurney to drive. This car is borrowed from Team Lotus. There is no sign of Bonnier.

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The first practice session is held on Friday evening under warm and dry conditions. The bogey time is obviously a 4min lap time. Last year, Phil Hill’s Ferrari lapped in a 3'59"3 during practice. In the race, Ginther, in the other Ferrari, had done a 3'59"8. The circuit lap record is still held by Brabham, who was driving the 2.5-litre Cooper-Climax. It was a 3'51"9, set up during the 1960 Spa race. Beforehand, during practice, he was able to go even faster and set a 3min 50.0sec lap time. However, it does not count as a record because it was not done during the race. When the circuit is opened for practice, Phil Hill is the first driver to go out on track. He is immediately followed by Clark, who is not far behind, and by McLaren. It was obvious that the trio meant business. The B.R.M. team is not as confident as it was the case in the previous race. They have some work to do on both cars after only a very brief run. Hill’s brakes are bleeding whilst Ginther has issues with the fuel lines.

 

It is Trevor Taylor’s first time coming to Spa-Francorchamps. Despite this, he is settling in nicely during practice. Soon after, he laps in 4'10"0. In the meantime, Maggs is having a first go in the V8 Cooper. However, he does not get far into practice. An ignition problem ends his session. The mechanics have to go out and rescue him. Surtees is also in trouble. The V8 Coventry-Climax engine tightens up on him. Therefore, he has to park the Lola car at Stavelot before bits come out of the side of the crankcase. Afterwards, the Brit gets a lift back to the pits thanks to Ireland and his Lotus. The two UDT-Laystall cars are doing all right. Although, the drivers are not too convinced about the handling at high speed. In the meantime, Gregory is faster than McLaren in the sorted-out works Cooper on one lap. There are any real high-speed practice laps halfway through the session. At the same time though, reliability is playing a big part in practice. Trouble seems rife for many teams. Ginther’s BRM is spewing out oil whilst Clark’s Coventry-Climax V8 is damaged after a dowel in the camshaft driving mechanism sheared.

 

The lap times soon begin to tumble down. Mairesse is the first one to set a 4'03"5. Graham Hill immediately replies to it with a 4min 03.0sec lap time. Despite this, he is not happy at all with the balance of the car after stopping in the B.R.M. garage. Ferrari also begin to set quick lap times. Phil Hill set a 4'03"6 whilst Mairesse does a 4'03"3 lap. Ferrari removes the Perspex covers off the engine as well as the brake-cooling duct in order to reduce drag. Everyone is convinced that their engines are not breathing properly at high speed. Thus, Ferraris removes the Perspex covers over the carburetors as well as taking off the Perspex brake-cooling scoops. Their goal is to reduce drag. So far, the billiard-table surface of the Masta straight is wavy and bumpy after a hard winter. As practice goes on, Phil Hill breaks the 4min barrier as it was the case last year. It is nice to see, for a change, the Ferrari team leader being happy with the handling of the car. At the same though, he merely wants more speed from the Italian car.

 

After trying to do so, he records a 3'59"8 lap time. The Brit is the first driver to go under the 4-min mark. Meanwhile though, Taylor is steadily working away. As a result, the Lotus driver is able to set a much quicker time, a 3'59"3. It was a splendid effort for a first time on this high-speed circuit. Given that Taylor is also under the 4-min barrier, it gives some indication of what might be expected from Clark, after getting a new engine. Shortly before the end of the free-practice session, McLaren and Maggs have some minor issues with the gear-selector. Those are not serious though and Maggs is able to get going again. Brabham’s car is not ready before the start of the practice session and, as a result, does not have a single lap time set. In addition, Gurney’s car is also not ready to drive. With only two cars below the 4min mark, the pace is not as quick as expected. Reliability troubles have been frequent. Therefore, one has to wait until the next practice session that is due on Saturday afternoon.

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Once again, the track conditions are perfect, neither too hot nor cold and completely dry. Brabham arrives on Saturday with the Lotus-Climax V8 whilst Hill’s B.R.M. has the vertical stub exhausts. McLaren’s gear-selector trouble is rectified and the four Ferrari cars have the carburetor intakes covered with lattice-work. Clark does not yet have a car to drive with, given that the new engine is coming on its way by road. At 3:00 p.m., the practice session starts. McLaren is the first driver to drive smartly away out of the pits. Surtees is quick to follow given that his Bowmaker Team has a spare engine to use. The UDT-Laystall drivers swap cars. The numbers are not changed in order to prove something or other. A couple of minutes into the session, the Ferrari drivers Phil Hill and Baghetti are out on track. As the Italian driver accelerates out of the pits, the Ferrari mechanics realize that they have not fastened the engine cover. Yet it was too late since Baghetti, oblivious of what is going on, is already out on track. That soon changes. As he goes up the climbing turn of the Eau Rouge, the engine cover blows up like a huge air-brake. This causes the Ferrari driver to spin into the iron safety barrier.

 

The car is damaged but Baghetti is luckily unscathed. Afterwards, he says that, regarding the incident, the first thoughts that came to his mind was that a wheel had come off. As a last-minute entry, Campbell-Jones arrives with an Emeryson car and is able to join the second practice session. Compared to yesterday, the B.R.M. team is in a much better state. Graham Hill begins charging round the track. Quite early into the session, the Brit manages to do a 3'58"0 lap time. As expected, he is on strong form. Shortly after, the B.R.M. drive further improves his best time by doing a 3'57"0. According to him, this lap time is good enough for the time being. His car is using a different axle ratio compared to yesterday. However, it is still not quite right. In fact, the B.R.M. car is still not going as fast as anticipated down the Masta straight. Taylor is out in the Lotus-Climax V8 and is lapping almost as quick as yesterday. Although, it is still unknown whether the works Lotus cars could take pole position since Clark has not yet set a lap time. Gregory is going very fast at the wheel of the UDT Climax V8 car. He is approaching the 4min mark with his last timed effort. This particular time is being credited to the B.R.M.

 

V8-engined car. McLaren is getting along nicely with the Cooper car as is Maggs, who has previously done a 4'05"6 lap time. After the Monte-Carlo pandemonium, practice seem to go very leisurely. Halfway through the session, there is a considerable lull since there are no cars on track. Brabham’s mechanics take a look at the gearbox of the Lotus car. McLaren is left stranded at Stavelot after running out of fuel whilst the Ferrari team is sitting and waiting. At long last, the Seidel-entered Lotus-B.R.M. V8 arrives. Gurney is finally able to drive. The car though is far from ready. The Ferrari drivers then decides to go out on track. Phil Hill goes out of the pits to have a proper go at the fastest lap. He is then able to do so by recording a 3'59"6 which is quite as quick compared to last year. At the same time though, this time indicates some strange progress down at Maranello. After this attempt, the British Ferrari driver dives into the pits. He is only complaining about having insufficient speed. Despite this, the mechanics look gloomily at the oil all over the back wishbones.

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Willy Mairesse then sets a best lap of 3'59"8. In the meantime, McLaren’s Cooper is retrieved and refueled, ready to go out on track again. Despite the hiccup, the New Zealand driver is in fine form and set a 3'58"8 best lap time, which is under the 4min mark.  Ireland, at the wheel of the Climax V8-engined UDT car, is also going well and also manages to break the 4min barrier. Despite this result, the Brit is not impressed with the handling of the Lotus 24 car and neither is Brabham, who is running comparatively slowly. After playing as racing-driver for a long time, de Beaufort has been taking things much more seriously. His driving is improving enormously compared to previous years. His best time of 4'07"7 is faster than that the ones did by Bonnier and Gurney last year. The times are done at the wheel of almost identical cars. In addition, de Beaufort’s lap is faster than Brabham and Trintignant, who are driving the Climax V8-engined cars this year.

 

Gurney is going slowly around the Spa track, at the wheel of the white Lotus-B.R.M. V8. On one occasion, the car is going up to 9.000 rpm in top gear. The American driver, after a couple of laps, decides that the car is not really race-worthy. Just before the end of the session, poor Jimmy Clark is forced to stand on the fence and watch the other cars going around the race track. The Lotus driver only manages to do a 4'09"2 before the engine, at the back of his car, blow up. By switching numbers, the mechanics are able to give Taylor’s car to Clark. This gives Clark the opportunity to do a few laps and to try improving his current position. The British driver then does a 4'04"9, without having to risk his team-mate’s engine. On the way back to the garage, after the end of the second practice session, the car becomes locked in two gears at the same time.

 

Practice is not unduly exciting. There are six cars that went below the 4min mark. In addition, four drivers are able to get below last year’s fastest race-lap. Things look fairly good for an entertaining race. There are three different constructors on the front row of the grid. Ireland and Mairesse have done the same time. Hence, they toss up the dice to decide who would start on the second row of the grid. Campbell-Jones’s Emeryson has a damaged gearbox. Thus, the Brit arranges to borrow an old Lotus from a German friend. Over Saturday night, Clark’s Lotus is fitted with a new engine. Taylor’s car has one good gearbox built out of two. Baghetti’s Ferrari is straightened out. Gurney decides to not start the race at the wheel of the hurriedly-prepared Lotus-B.R.M. V8. Hill’s works B.R.M. has the low-level exhaust pipes put back on again. Coopers seems quite confident going into this race. The Belgian Grand Prix is always impressive enough to stand on its own without having the need for a dicing fiesta to lead up to it.

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At 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, under warm skies, the cars are fueled and warmed up for the start of the race. Team Lotus is still having troubles to fix the fuel-filler cap, on Taylor’s car, that is seized on its thread. Efforts are being made in order to break the filler neck and to fit a spare tank in a rush. The Ferrari mechanics are still conscious about the nonsense mistake that they made with Baghetti during practice. Therefore, they decide to fit small security straps to the top of the engine cover. The Lola mechanics are squeezing the last half-gallon of petrol into the rubber fuel tanks of Surtees’ car since it was going to be a long race. Furthermore, the V8 Climax engine has a high-fuel consumption. After the drivers do a whole parade lap in various open cars, the racing cars are assembled on the grid. The drivers gather together. They are told to be good boys and not jump the flag.

 

It is a splendid start. The engines are running by the 1min signal, the track is completely clear at 30sec and everyone gets away beautifully. All 19 cars are streaming down through the Eau Rouge bridge in a fine roar of noise and smoke. Up the steep climb, the order is: Graham Hill, McLaren and Taylor, with Mairesse close behind. At Malmedy, it is reported that McLaren leads the race. However, at Stavelot, Graham Hill is back in the lead. However, the top-5 drivers are very tightly bunched, during the 1st of 32 laps, before heavily braking for the hairpin at La Source. Down past the pits, the order is: Graham Hill, Taylor, McLaren, Clark and Mairesse. They are closely following each other and any one of them could easily take the lead of the race. Clark, after a very good getaway, is in 4th position. He is a sight worth watching.

 

Ireland, Phil Hill and Rodriguez are in close contention behind Mairesse. Then, there were Maggs, Gregory, Surtees, Ginther, Brabham and de Beaufort. The latter is heading the rest of the drivers, apart from Campbell-Jones who stops in his pit box. From the confused and excited reports on the telephone system around the circuit, it is obvious that a pretty good old dice is in progress. At the end of the 2nd lap, the top-5 drivers are still really close when braking for the hairpin. The order is: Taylor, McLaren, Mairesse, Hill and Clark. The B.R.M. car seemingly begins to slow down. Thus, the car enters the pit area before going out on track again. In the meantime, the top-5 is breaking away from the rest of the pack. Further back, Ireland is leading the two Ferraris whilst Maggs is ahead of Surtees and Gregory. Ginther and Brabham are dropping back. Baghetti is missing, only to re-appear long after everyone had gone by. The latter stops in the pits whilst the mechanics fiddle with the engine. After getting serviced, he goes out on track again.

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Meanwhile the battle for the lead continues. After the 3rd lap, Taylor still leads the race. There are numerous battles going on between the first five drivers. Ireland is overtaken by the two Ferraris but is still hanging on to them. Surtees is leading the rest even if he is already quite a way back from the leaders. At the end of lap 4, there are cheers coming from the great crowds. Mairesse has taken the lead of the race, after overtaking Taylor, going down the hill to the Eau Rouge. The order is thus: Mairesse, Taylor, McLaren, Hill and Clark. There is still nothing separating Ferrari, Lotus, Cooper, B.R.M. and the Lotus car. They are all bunched together and lapping at over 130mph. It must be the average of Grand Prix racing, no matter how dull some drivers think it is.

 

On lap 5, Taylor is back in the lead. Onto lap 6 and 7, Mairesse is in front of everyone. This is no dull procession. In the meantime, Graham Hill is fighting with McLaren for 3rd. The only consistent thing about this leading group is that Clark is continually in 5th place. He is obviously sitting back and watching the others. At the same time, he is learning this high-speed circuit. He had very little practice beforehand. On lap 8, the Clark plan is revealed. He moves up from 5th to 2nd within a matter of second, even though the others are still pushing and shoving. Hill is having a hard time since the injection system is not working properly when opening up or blipping the throttle to change down a gear. Thus, Mairesse nips by him on the inside at the hairpin. Then McLaren dives on the inside to overtake the Ferrari driver as they cross the Eau Rouge bridge. In spite of this, Hill is still in the mix. On lap 9, Clark takes the lead even if Taylor, Mairesse, Hill and McLaren are nose to tail behind him.

 

On lap 10, the Cooper and B.R.M. cars swap positions. Mairesse has Hill’s Ferrari and Taylor’s Lotus alongside him whilst trying to chase Clark down past the pits. This terrific battle almost overshadows the rest of the field. Baghetti withdraws from the race, on lap 4, with an ignition issue. Ireland stops in the garage. The Lotus-Climax V8 is handling in a strange fashion. Afterwards, he tries to do an extra lap but is forced to stop yet again. It is then found that a rear wishbone mounting is breaking away from the chassis. Back to the front, Mairesse sets the fastest lap of the race in 3'57"4. The top-5 though are still bunched up together and lapping at the same pace. As Mairesse takes the lead of the race, Clark sets a 3'57"0. Team Lotus is now in a fine position. Their top driver is leading the race whilst the other one is in 2nd place. The Clark/Taylor team is very friendly and are preparing to work together. Thus, it is up to Trevor Taylor to drive foxily, hold back Mairesse, McLaren and Hill whilst Clark breaks away from the others. Yet, one thing is to say something like this. The other is to actually do it.

 

In fact, Mairesse is actually fighting Taylor. The latter though manages to retake the lead on the climb back from Stavelot and stay in front of Mairesse and Hill’s Ferraris. On lap 12, Clark is on a stride and set a 3'56"9 lap, followed by a 3'56"7. In the meantime, Hill’s B.R.M. spluttering is getting worse than ever and as a result, the big dice is over. On lap 13, there is a 10sec gap between 1st placed Clark and Hill, in 5th place. Yet it starts to go down when the leader starts to lap the back markers at over 130mph. Despite this, no one else is within striking distance to take the lead away from Clark. The two Ferrari drivers, Phil Hill and Rodriguez, are running in very close company. They are constantly overtaking each other even if it seems rather needlessly to do so. Within the same lap, Surtees retires. The fuel tanks are not venting properly.

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As the race goes on, the UDT-Laystall team has a good look at Ireland’s car. The mechanics then decide to call Gregory into the pits before his car’s chassis breaks. Brabham, who is not happy with his Lotus, is getting caught by de Beaufort. The Walker Team is in the unusual position of not being in the picture at all. Trintignant, driving the V8, is 13th. His engine is not running at its best. Bianchi is running at the back, at the wheel of the rather well-used 4-cylinder Lotus. On lap 15, Clark goes around the Spa track in 3'55"6 (average 215.449kph). The race average has climbed from just over 210kph to over 212kph, almost equal to last year’s best lap. Onto the 16th lap, halfway through the Grand Prix, the race order is: Clark, Taylor, Mairesse, Graham Hill, McLaren and the two Ferrari drivers, Rodriguez and Phil Hill. A long way behind comes Maggs. Ginther is further behind the latter whilst the remaining drivers, have been lapped. Surtees is among them since there was a delay during his pit stop. Brabham speeds up a little after seeing de Beaufort’s Porsche in his mirrors. Further behind, Trintignant, Siffert and Bianchi are lapping slower whilst Campbell-Jones is doing the odd lap here and there. For a moment, it looks as though everyone is settling down.

 

Taylor seems to have won the battle against Mairesse but that soon changes. On lap 18, the fiery Belgian renews his attack and the battle resumes. Clark is a comfortable 10 seconds ahead of the squabbling duo. He is so far completely mastering the situation, settling down in his own pace. 2nd place is very much in doubt. Mairesse has no intention of giving in to Taylor and accepting 3rd place. Graham Hill and McLaren are running 4th and 5th respectively. The Ferrari drivers are closely matched and following each other closely. On lap 20, the Cooper car loses oil pressure. McLaren switches off the Cooper car and draw into the side of the tack before the rods begin to fly. Apart from the two Ferraris closely running in 5th and 6th respectively, the remainder of the field is spread out. Thus, all interest lays in the battle for 2nd place. It seems as if there was more at stake than just 2nd place. Taylor is preventing Mairesse to close the gap to Clark. At this point of the race, the latter is 2 seconds a lap faster than the duo. On lap 21, Mairesse is in 2nd place, with Taylor hanging on grimly. By the end of the next lap, Clark only gains 1 sec over the duo behind. Taylor then gets past Mairesse’s Ferrari for 2nd. This is a pretty cut throat battle due to inexperience and exuberance. The average speed is still over 130mph. On lap 24 and 25, Taylor leads the race.

 

Mairesse though is right behind the Lotus driver. There is nothing separating them. One driver was brought up in the tough school of Formula Junior whilst the other was doing Rallies. Yet, both seems a little out of their depth whilst fighting hard for that all-important 2nd place. On lap 26, chaos ensures. Taylor is in the lead as they leave the very fast left-hand bend at Blanchimont, just before the Club House and La Source. However, at over 100mph, the two touch. The Lotus cuts down a telegraph pole and crashes into a ditch. Instead, the Ferrari car catches fire and lands upside down. Fortunately, both drivers are flung out. Taylor shakily escapes the incident. On the other hand, Mairesse receives first-aid for slight burns and numerous cuts and gashes. While this is going on, Maggs retires due to a broken gearbox. Then, Ginther’s car hits trouble at the far end of the circuit after suffering a gearbox issue. The American driver has no drive in the rear wheels and is forced to retire. In the midst of all this, Surtees has to slow down in order to avoid the incident. He is then given the OK by the Team Lotus pit crew to continue. Taylor is standing by the wrecked cars. The race is pretty much over at this point. Clark has to bring the Lotus car home to win the race. It was an incredibly intelligent and brilliant race by the Brit. Graham Hill, at the wheel of the spluttering B.R.M., finishes second. It is a stroke of luck after the Monaco disappointment.

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The two dueling Ferrari drivers are fighting for 3rd place. This battle is not yet over. It is going down to the wire and right to the last corner. Phil Hill forces his way by on the inside of Rodriguez at the hairpin that led down the hill. The American gets across the finish line to finish ahead of the Mexican by a few inches. Surtees finishes yet another Grande Epreuve with the Lola-Climax V8 in 5th place. This is a result that must encourage the team. Poor old Brabham is lapped twice by Clark in the monocoque Lotus 25. De Beaufort finishes in 7th place, not far behind Brabham at the finish. This result speaks volumes because it demonstrates that the big Dutchman has improved in terms of performance. The two Walker cars and Siffert finish the race at the bottom. It is originally believed that the very fast Spa-Francorchamps circuit was hypothetically more favorable to the superior engine power of the Ferrari cars. If this turned out to be true, the Italian team could have been in a position to rebalance the championship situation. Above all, they count on Ferrari's proverbial qualities of resistance to distance while the same could not be said for the new cars from across the Channel. Instead it is clear that the English have also improved in this direction. From now on though, we must not have too many illusions about the power difference between the Ferrari engines and the B.R.M. and Coventry-Climax ones. 

 

At least, Lotus, B.R.M. and Cooper are able to fully exploit the horsepower provided by their engines. On the other hand, it seems to be one of the current difficulties for the Modenese single-seaters. The situation, although not critical for the Italian colors, raises more than one concern. There are still many world-championship races on the calendar. However, if things do not change, the supremacy of the English cars threatens to leave no margin to Ferrari. The hope is that the Maranello team will be able to field the new cars, that are currently being prepared at the factory, as soon as possible. Fortunately, nothing is compromised as far as the world ranking is concerned. The tenacious Graham Hill is in 1st place with 16 points, followed by World Champion Phil Hill, with 14. McLaren and Clark are 3rd and 4th respectively, seven points behind the championship leader. The Scuderia Ferrari driver is leading because of his consistency, in terms of results, in the three races held so far. He either  finished 3rd or 2nd so far. Meanwhile, McLaren is losing ground on the other rivals whilst Jim Clark is advancing. He is a driver who seems to be following in Stirling Moss’s footsteps. The young British driver is brilliant and is demonstrating an unequivocal demonstration of class. Lotus owes it to him if the B.R.M.- probably the best Formula 1 car of the moment - is still unbeaten.

 

There are two new significant records, for the current Formula 1, set by Clark: an average speed of over 312 overall and 218.449 on the lap, with a net gain of respectively six and almost four kilometer-hours on the averages that were set last year. In terms of the other drivers, Baghetti was practically left at the pole due to a mechanical failure. On hindsight, it was better that way. After the accident on the eve of the race, the morale of the young Milanese racer was shaken. Trevor Taylor and Willy Mairesse’s behavior was magnificent up until the moment of the dramatic collision that put both out of the race. Mairesse is notoriously at ease on very fast tracks. At Spa, he was competing in front of his public and on a track that he knows perfectly. Taylor, on the other hand, is this year’s revelation. He is the typical British school runner. Without the accident, the two would have probably finished in 2nd and 3rd. For three weeks, Formula 1 will take a break. At the same time though, pilots and technicians will not rest. Next Saturday, they are called to drive at the 24 Hours of Le Mane. It is a grueling test of endurance for sports cars and gran turismo. In this sector, Ferrari knows no rivals this year. On the Sarthe circuit, the team should enhance its superiority as well as the conquest of the world title brands.

 

Ylenia Lucia Salerno

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