Travel Reservation Hotline

Call and Book Your Hotel Now!

Domestic Toll-Free for US and Canada: 1-800-997-1438

Worldwide: +1-817-983-0682


Memorable Moments From The Belgian Grand Prix

Race Car
Credit: Pixabay/katherinelake

Belgium, at the heart of Europe both commercially and politically, also has no mean reputation for hosting international sporting events. The Van Damme Memorial IAAF Grand Prix is a major feature on the athletic calendar with track and field events taking place in Brussels while the Tour de France cycling race often features a couple of legs and then there is the Belgian Grand Prix which takes place at Spa-Fracorchamps south-east of Liege and attracts race fans from all around the globe. Lest we forget, one of Belgium's favourite sporting sons is racing driver Thierry Boutsen who picked up 15 podium finishes in his 10 year career.

Spa-Francorchamps of Belgium
Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.

Credit: Will Pittenger / CC BY-SA 3.0

While the Belgian Grand Prix may lack the glamour of more illustrious peers like Monaco, Brands Hatch or Monza, Spa has played hosts to its own iconic moments in Formula One history so as we look forward to the race this weekend let's remind ourselves of some glorious moments from the track's rich past.

1991 - Michael Schumacher's Debut

History tells us the 1991 edition was dominated by Brazilians. Ayrton Senna driving the McLaren-Honda was in pole position, Roberto Morena recorded the fastest lap and Senna was joined on the winner's podium by compatriot Nelson Piquet. But the race also marked the first race for a 22-year-old German driver by the name of Michael Schumacher driving a Jordan-Ford. He wasn't one of the favourites back then of course, despite performing well in the qualifiers and even complaining to Autosport how Alain Prost had blocked him! He failed to finish the race but he was unperturbed – he was picked up by Mercedes and returned the following year and took the checkered flag! As for local lad Boutsen? He finished 11th that year. 

1998 - The Year The Heavens Opened

Spa is notorious for its rain. There was one 20-year period where it rained on every race day. 1998 saw a biblical downpour that saw the drivers struggling right from the get go. Scottish driver David Coulthard lost control on the first lap leading to a 13 car pile up and spectators avoiding bouncing rubber tyres in the rain. At the restart, table topping Mika Hakkinen was rear ended by Johnny Herbert and both were forced to withdraw. And so it continued in much that vein with so many cars dropping out just eight finished with Damon Hill edging Ralf Schumacher to the finish line and ensuring a sodden Jordan-Mugen-Honda one-two on the podium.

2021 - The Shortest Race Ever

Another surreal Spa race, this time just another surreal episode in a surreal season which saw a number of races cancelled due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, this particular race will go down in the annals as the shortest of all time. Heavy rain saw the race delayed and when it did finally go ahead just two laps were completed before the race organisers finally conceded they were not going to beat the weather. Drivers were awarded 50% of the normal race points with Max Verstappen in the Red Bull Racing-Honda, leading when a halt was finally called, picking up 12.5 points for his efforts – a crucial amount as he would go on to win the season just eight points ahead of his nearest challenger Lewis Hamilton.

A controversial end to the race but it doesn't disguise the fact that Verstappen would not finish outside of the top two for the rest of the season as he went on to win the Driver's Championship and it is that momentum that has left him as favourite for 2022 in the Formula One betting odds from Coral.

So, there you have it. Never a dull moment at the Spa Grand Prix and if the idea of a torrential downpour puts you off heading to the track why not check out some of the coolest sports bars in Brussels and watch it on the big screen?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.