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1954 Belgian Grand Prix

The second round of the 1954 World Championship took place on June 20 in Belgium on the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The length of the track was 14.12 km, while the drivers had to complete 36 laps.


      After winning the first round of the World Championship in Argentina and the FIA's refusal to grant Ferrari's request to review the results of the Grand Prix, Juan Manuel Fangio came to Belgium as the leader of the championship. At the same time, the Argentine again drove for Maserati, as his new Daimler-Benz team was still fine-tuning their new car and announced that its debut would take place at the next Grand Prix in France. Onofre Marimon and Sergio Mantovani became teammates of the Argentine in the Italian team this time, while all three received new 250F cars at their disposal. In addition to the factory team, Stirling Moss and Prince Bira took part in the Belgian Grand Prix with private Maseratis 250F, and Roberto Mieres used last year's Maserati A6GCM.


Scuderia Ferrari, as in the first round, was represented by four drivers, only this time Maurice Trintignant, who drove in Argentine Louis Rosier's private Ferrari, became the new teammate of Nino Farina, José-Froilan Gonzalez and Mike Hawthorn.


       At the same time, Farina and Gonzalez went to the start driving the newest Ferrari 553, while Hawthorn and Trintignant drove the former Ferrari 625. Hawthorn was still in pain from burns received during the April race in Syracuse, but the Englishman assured Nello Ugolini that he was completely ready to race. In addition to the factory team, local driver Jacques Swaters also took part in Grand Prix in his last year's Ferrari 500.
      The Lancia team, which originally planned to make its debut at the Belgium stage, withdrew its application after tests in Monza, which showed that the new car was not competitive enough. Thus, the reigning world champion Alberto Ascari was forced to miss this Grand Prix too, which significantly reduced his chances of defending his champion title.
      Meanwhile, the French team Gordini filled the remaining places in the list of participants with its three drivers, but there were also some changes in it. Elie Bayol, who had a great race in Argentina and brought the team two points, was sacked by Amadeus Gordini after a non-championship race in Bordeaux for disobeying an order to hand over his car to team leader Jean Behra. To replace Elie Gordini took at once two local drivers Paul Frere and Andre Pilette, who became Jean's teammates.


       Qualifying in Belgium once again turned into a battle for pole position between Juan-Manuel Fangio and the Ferrari drivers, and this time the Argentine took the upper hand in this fight, who managed a truly fantastic lap, although he had to force the engine on his Maserati 700 rpm higher than permissible. The final time of Fangio stood at 4’22.1, and thus the Argentine not only surpassed last year's result by 8 seconds, but also improved by 3 seconds the track record shown by himself three years ago at the wheel of a 1.5-liter Alfa Romeo with a compressor! The second place went to Gonzalez in a Ferrari, who was 1.5 seconds behind Fangio, and the third was Farina, who clearly expressed dissatisfaction with the new car and even temporarily borrowed Hawthorn's Ferrari of the previous model. Onofre Marimon was quite fast and took fourth place on the starting field, ahead of two Ferraris of Hawthorn and Trintignant, and Gordini also performed well, managing to get into the top ten with all three cars. Meanwhile Stirling Moss showed a good 9th time in his first qualifying of the season, managing to get ahead of the third Maserati driver Sergio Mantovani, who became only 11th.



     Before the start of the Grand Prix, the 14 qualified participants are joined by the 15th: Baron Tulo de Graffenried, who, driving a Maserati A6GCM with a camera installed on it, will have to shoot footage for the new Hollywood movie "The Racers" starring Kirk Douglas.


Start. Fangio hesitates at the start, and almost half of the peleton immediately passes him! The leader in the first corner of the Eau Rouge is Gonzalez, pursued by his teammates Farina and Hawthorn. Behind them, in the same turn, Roberto Mieres' Maserati flares up, and the Argentine, applying emergency braking, jumps out of the burning car!


Roberto miraculously manages to avoid injuries and serious burns, and his flaming Maserati flies to the other side of the track and flips over, crashing into an earthen embankment! The shocked Argentine returns to the pits on foot, where he learns that one of the mechanics did not fix the fuel tank cap, which led to the fire.

Meanwhile, already on the first lap, Gonzalez, Marimon and Swaters have engine problems. All three of them enter the pits, and if the Ferrari drivers leave the race, then Marimon returns to the track in last place after replacing the spark plugs. Besides, Fangio immediately begins to win back positions, and the Argentine finishes the first lap in third place. 
Position after the 1st lap: Farina, Hawthorn, Fangio, Trintignant, Behra, Moss, Pilette, Bira, Frere, Mantovani.
Lap 2: Fangio attacks Hawthorn, moving into 2nd place!


Lap 3: Fangio passes Farina and becomes the leader of the race!


Behind Mantovani passes Bira and Frere, taking 8th position.


Lap 4: Fangio completes a lap two seconds faster than Farina, starting to create a gap from the Italian. Meanwhile, the engine on Marimon's car loses power again, and the Argentine drives into the pits, this time finally retiring from the race.


Lap 8: After a few laps of struggle, Behra finally manages to overtake the Ferrari of his former teammate Trintignant, thus taking 4th position!


Meanwhile, the engine begins misfiring on Sergio Mantovani's Maserati, forcing the Italian to drive into the pits for replacing the spark plugs.


Lap 10: Fangio loses speed and Farina starts to catch him up!


Position after 10 laps: Fangio, Farina, Hawthorn, Behra, Trintignant, Moss, Pilette, Bira, Mantovani, Frere.
Lap 11: Farina attacks Fangio and takes the lead again!


At the finish line, Fangio slows down, removes and throws aside the protective visor, and puts on the glasses hanging around his neck. It turns out that the belt of the protective visor was loose, and the Argentine passed the previous lap almost blindly, giving Farina an opportunity to quickly catch him up and get ahead! Meanwhile, Trintignant counterattacks Behra and regains 4th place.


Lap 12: Fangio immediately regains his former speed and rushes in pursuit of Farina!


Lap 13: Jean Behra, who had a great race, drops out of the race due to a broken rear suspension, releasing Moss to 5th place. 
Lap 14: Fangio catches up Farina and after a short struggle comes forward again!


Meanwhile, a crack appears in the exhaust pipe of Hawthorn's Ferrari, and now the Englishman is forced to drive the car inhaling exhaust gases!


Lap 15: Farina has ignition problems!


The Italian tries to reach the pits, but to no avail, and he parks his Ferrari on the side of the track, giving second place to his teammate Hawthorn. On the same lap, Frere goes down due to engine failure, and thus only seven cars remain in the race!
Lap 18: Hawthorn starts to lose speed under the influence of exhaust gases, and Trintignant starts to catch up with him!


Lap 20: Ferrari suspects something is wrong and shows Hawthorn a sign to enter the pits. The Englishman is already on the verge of fainting, and he misses Trintignant to 2nd place, but Mike still manages to finish the lap and stop in the pits, after which he immediately loses consciousness! Mechanics pull the Englishman out of the car and take him to the garage, but since there is no visible damage on the car, Gonzalez takes a place in the cockpit of his Ferrari and immediately rushes back to the track.
Position after 20 laps: Fangio, Trintignant, Gonzalez, Moss, Pilette, Bira, Mantovani.
Lap 21: During the lap, Gonzalez feels the effect of exhaust gases, which not only make it difficult for him to breathe, but also burn his arm! The Argentine returns to the pits and points out to the mechanics a crack in the exhaust pipe, the repair of which takes about five minutes.


At the end of the repair, Jose-Froilan returns to the track again, missing three rivals and dropping to 6th place. Meanwhile, due to the problems of Ferrari drivers, it is now Stirling Moss who takes third position!


Lap 23: Gonzalez drives at a great pace and overtakes Prince Bira, taking 5th place.
Lap 29: Gonzalez passes Pilette and becomes the 4th!


However, Moss in the third place is more than a minute and a half ahead of the Argentine, so Jose-Froilan is unlikely to be able to catch up with the Englishman. 
Last lap: After another great race, Fangio crosses the finish line first and wins the Belgian Grand Prix, winning his second victory of the season! The second place, thanks to the problems that arose on the cars of his teammates, goes to Trintignant, who for the first time gets on the podium of the World Championship Grand Prix and comes in second place in the overall standings! The third is Stirling Moss, who held the race quite calmly and confidently, having managed to get on the podium for the first time and earn his first points in Formula 1 thanks to the retirements of his rivals. Gonzalez in a Ferrari will eventually finish fourth, sharing the points with Hawthorn. Pillette gets the last two points for fifth place, having managed to bring Gordini a second productive finish in a row.


Interesting facts:

- Maurice Trintignant's first podium;
- Stirling Moss' first podium and points;
- Andre Pilette's first points.

Driver standings


Alternative GP results

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