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Most memorable Belgian GP moments - News

When talking about Formula 1 heritage, it isn't long before Belgium's Spa-Francorchamps becomes a hot topic of discussion.

Arguably one of the greatest race circuits in the world, the venue which boasts the picturesque Ardennes backdrop has been a fixture on the Grand Prix calendar since the championship's first season in 1950.

And with this year's edition of the Belgian Grand Prix just completed, we at take a trip down memory lane and look at some of the most memorable moments at the famed track.

  • 1991 – Schumacher's spectacular (yet brief) debut

At just 22 years old, a fresh-faced, then unknown, German racer was drafted into the Jordan team at short notice. Although Michael Schumacher wasn't a household name at the time, many in the paddock tipped him for future success.

And when he finished seventh place in his first ever qualifying session, people quickly realised that a star was born. Mingling among the powerhouses of McLaren, Ferrari, and Williams, it was the rookie Schumacher that gained places off the line and challenged the front runners on the run down to the famous Eau Rouge corner on lap one.

Sadly however, at the top of the hill, his clutch gave way, curtailing his race before it really started. It was one of the most explosive debuts in Formula 1 history. He would later go on to win 91 races and 7 World Championships, cementing himself as one of the greatest racing drivers that ever lived.

  • 1998 – First lap chaos in the downpour

Wet weather has always been a great equaliser in Formula 1, forcing the drivers to really test their skills, commitment, and bravery.

The 1998 Belgian Grand Prix would become infamous for being one of the most chaotic races in motorsport history for many reasons, not least because of the treacherous conditions.

From the opening lap pile-up, to Michael Schumacher crashing into the back of David Coulthard, to Jordan scoring the team's first ever 1-2 finish – this race truly had it all.

  • 2000 – Hakkinen's genius overtake

Two years later, it was Schumacher and Hakkinen who were embroiled in a titanic battle for the world championship. Would the Finn win his third title in a row, or would Schumacher finally end Ferrari's 21-year drought for championship glory?

Starting off wet, the track began to dry in the latter stages, with Hakkinen chasing Schumacher through the Ardennes Forest. But typically, the German put up a staunch defence.

With just three laps to go, Hakkinen got the run he needed and spectacularly used the lapped car of Ricardo Zonta to pass Schumacher, leaving the Ferrari driver powerless to a runner-up finish. This battle was a defining chapter in one of the sport's greatest ever rivalries.

  • 2008 – Hamilton vs. Raikkonen in the closing laps

In just his second season, Lewis Hamilton had already established himself as a firm title contender and fan favourite. His brand of aggressive driving and lightning-fast speed was something to admire.

At the Belgian GP, Hamilton was looking to further extend his title lead. In the final stages of an otherwise dry race, the rain came. It was a question of whether to brave the conditions on slick tyres or make a late switch to wet tyres.

Hamilton and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen were both battling for the win, and decided to stay out. With both drivers sliding off the circuit, missing barriers and lapped cars in the treacherous conditions, it truly was a battle of wits.

Ultimately, Raikkonen crashed and Hamilton won the race. It was simply one of the most exciting finishes to a Grand Prix in recent memory.

If you're looking for a thrilling single seater driving experience to feel the need for speed like your favourite F1 heroes, be sure to check out our Formula 1 Driving Experiences page to book from dates on our Formula 1 Experiences Calendar or purchase of our Gift Vouchers.

Most memorable Belgian GP moments
05 September 2022

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