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1951 Belgian Grand Prix

The second round of the 1951 Formula 1 World Championship took place on June 17 in Belgium at the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The length of the track was 14.12 km, while the drivers had to complete 36 laps.


        Like last year, the Belgian Grand Prix was not particularly popular with teams and drivers. The Enrico Plate team decided to skip the Belgian stage, forcing its leading driver Louis Chiron to urgently look for another place. Fortunately for Monegasque, Louis Rosier lent him one of his Talbot-Lago, and as a result, Chiron remained in the Frenchman's team until the end of the season. The HW Motors team, after one Grand Prix held, decided not to participate in Formula 1 races this year at all. Thus, only 13 cars came to the start of the Belgian Grand Prix, half of which consisted of drivers on private Talbot-Lago, and the other half belonged to Alfa Romeo and Ferrari. Both Italian teams this time represented three drivers of the main line-up. The good news for Ferrari was that the leader of the team Ascari had finally recovered from the burns received in the Formula 2 race and could perform at full strength.


       The qualification was a repeat of the previous round in Switzerland. The fastest was the leader of the championship Fangio, driving a lap in 4'25 and improving the time of last year's pole position by as much as 12 seconds! The second was the reigning world champion Farina, losing to the Argentine 3 sec. The fastest of the Ferraris was again Villoresi, who lost to Farina only 1 sec and just as much ahead of his partner Ascari, who was clearly in better shape than in Switzerland. Piero Taruffi on the third Ferrari became the 5th, having already lost 7 seconds to pole position time. Sanesi on the third Alfa Romeo was for 11 seconds slower than Fangio, but it was enough to gain a foothold in 6th place. The best of Talbot-Lago drivers was Rosier, who lost to Fangio for 20 seconds. The remaining places in the top ten went to Giraud-Cabantous, Chiron and Etancelin.

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 Unlike the rainy Swiss Grand Prix, the second race of the season welcomes drivers and spectators with beautiful weather.

Start. Fangio and Farina start badly, and Villoresi takes the lead! And if the Italian managed to keep at least the 2nd place, then the Argentine also misses Ascari and becomes only the 4th! Etancelin was unable to move at all due to transmission failure and is out of the race.

Position after the 1st lap: Villoresi, Farina, Ascari, Fangio, Taruffi, Sanesi, Giraud-Cabantous, Rosier, Claes, Chiron.

Lap 2: Farina is clearly faster than Villoresi, he attacks and passes the Ferrari, but the gray-haired Italian does not give up, counterattacks in the next corner and regains the lead! Behind them, Rosier overtakes Giraud-Cabantous and goes to 7th place, and Levegh passes Chiron, who loses pace due to ignition problems.

Lap 3: A lap later, Farina repeats her maneuver, this time without giving Villoresi a chance to win back, and becomes the leader of the race! Chiron drives into the pits to replace the spark plugs and lets Pilette through.

Lap 4: Villoresi is discouraged by the loss of the lead, he loses pace, and Ascari catches up and passes him. Farina shows the fastest lap in the race.

Lap 5: Fangio does not stay in the shadows for long, he also overtakes Villoresi, coming in 3rd place and simultaneously taking the fastest lap from Farina.

Lap 6: Farina goes even faster and exceeds his own time shown in qualifying. After overtaking Villoresi Fangio passes another Ferrari of Ascari, and Alfa Romeo take their usual place at the head of the peleton. It seems that Ferrari will not be able to defeat the invincible Milan team this time either. Meanwhile, Levegh overtakes Claes and comes out in 9th place.

Lap 7: Villoresi finally pulls himself together, picks up the pace and passes his teammate Ascari, climbing to 3rd place.

Lap 9: Taruffi, who confidently took 5th place, was forced to withdraw due to a broken rear axle.

Lap 10: Fangio drives a lap in a record 4'22, 3 seconds faster than in qualifying! Villoresi drives into the pits to fix a leak in the oil pipeline, and lets through Ascari and Sanesi.

Position after 10 laps: Farina, Fangio, Ascari, Sanesi, Villoresi, Rosier, Giraud-Cabantous, Levegh, Claes.

Lap 12: Sanesi drives into the pits for the first refueling, but during the stop the radiator overheats, and the Italian drops out of the race. Rosier comes in 5th place and claims points in the race.

Lap 15: Race leader Farina pulls in for refueling. The stop lasts about a minute and the Italian goes to the track behind Fangio.

Lap 16: Fangio, in turn, pulls into a pit stop, and it turns out to be a disaster for him. One of the mechanics, when trying to remove the left rear wheel, damaged the hub, and the wheel jammed! Despite all further efforts, the wheel did not give in, and in the end the mechanic left it alone and changed only the tire. To the credit of Juan Manuel, he looked at all this action with a stony face and did not say a word, although he understood that the race was lost for him. The entire pit stop eventually took more than 14 minutes, and the Argentinian was the last to enter the track, without any hope of catching up with the others. Farina is back in the lead of the race, and Giraud-Cabantous gets into the points.


Lap 17: Ascari drives into the pits for refueling, passing Villoresi in 2nd place.

Lap 20: Villoresi also enters the pit stop and returns 2nd place to Ascari.

Position after 20 laps: Farina, Ascari, Villoresi, Rosier, Giraud-Cabantous, Levegh, Claes, Pilette, Chiron, Fangio.

Lap 22: Villoresi drives into the pits again to replace the front wheel, without losing places. Chiron passes Pilette.

Lap 28: At Chiron's Talbot-Lago engine fails, and Monegasque leaves the race.

Last lap: Farina, in the absence of his main rival, easily wins the race and becomes the leader of the championship! Ascari and Villoresi, having failed to compete with Alfa Romeo, nevertheless bring Ferrari the maximum possible result, taking the remaining places on the podium. At the same time, Villoresi, who arrived 3rd, was especially happy, because he was finally able to earn his first points in Formula 1. And, given the problems faced by the rest of Alfa Romeo and Ferrari, the last places in the points were played between the drivers on Talbot-Lago, the best of which were Rosier and Giraud-Cabantous. Juan Manuel Fangio, due to his unsuccessful pit stop, arrived only 9th, but nevertheless received one point for the fastest lap in the race.

Farina wins the 1951 Belgian Grand Prix
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Interesting facts:

- Luigi Villoresi's first podium;

- Luigi Villoresi's first leading in the World Championship Grand Prix.

Driver standings

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Alternative GP results

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