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1955 Belgian Grand Prix

The third round of the 1955 Formula 1 World Championship took place on June 5 in Belgium at the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Compared to last year, the track has not undergone almost any changes, with the exception of the Stavelot turn, which has been completely resurfaced. At the same time, the length of the track remained the same and amounted to 14.12 km, while the drivers had to complete 36 laps.


In between the Monaco and the Belgian Grand Prix, motor racing lost one of its greatest drivers, two-time world champion Alberto Ascari, who died in Monza during tests of a Ferrari sports car.


This tragedy was the strongest blow for the Lancia team, which lost its leader, but the Turin team still took part in the Belgian Grand Prix, putting up the only car driven by Eugenio Castellotti.


       As for the second driver of the team, Luigi Villoresi, he was too shocked by the death of his close friend and refused to participate in the Grand Prix.
       The Daimler-Benz team this time was represented by three main drivers: Juan-Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss and Karl Kling, while Hans Herrmann, who was seriously injured during the Monaco Grand Prix, had a long recovery period ahead.


       At the same time, despite the rather high-speed configuration of the Belgian circuit, the head of the German team, Alfred Neubauer, did not experiment with streamlined Mercedes cars, preferring the W196 modifications with open wheels.
    Meanwhile, Scuderia Ferrari has brought to Belgium four of its "Super-sharks" Ferrari 555, driven by Nino Farina, Paul Frere, Maurice Trintignant and Harry Schell.


      At the same time, the Maranello team had only three applications to participate in the Grand Prix, so one of its drivers, who showed the worst time in training, had to stay out of the race. The Maserati team, as at the previous stage in Monaco, was represented by Jean Behra, Luigi Musso, Roberto Mieres and Cesare Perdisa, however, in addition to the factory team, two more drivers in private Maseratis, Louis Rosier and Johnny Claes, also took part in the Grand Prix. The last, 15th participant in Belgium was Mike Hawthorn in a Vanwall, and thus the Belgian stage once again confirmed its annual title of the least representative Grand Prix of the World Championship.


The very first day of training demonstrated the obvious superiority of the Silver Arrows drivers Fangio and Moss over the rest of the field, and already on Thursday Juan-Manuel broke the track record set by himself last year by more than 3 seconds.


However, on Friday, Mercedes drivers were unexpectedly outpaced by Eugenio Castellotti at Lancia, who consistently improved his own time and showed the best lap at the very end of the day, giving the "Silver Arrows" an unpleasant surprise.


At the same time, the hopes of the German team to win back the next day were crossed out by the rain, which heavily wetted the track, and thus the young Italian won his first pole position in his third Grand Prix, ahead of Fangio and Moss!


The fourth result was shown by Nino Farina in a Ferrari, who felt quite confident on the Belgian track and managed to get ahead of Maserati leader Jean Behra, who was also quite fast. Meanwhile, the third driver of the Silver Arrows, Karl Kling, was clearly inferior in speed to his teammates and managed to take only 6th place on the starting grid. Seventh was Luigi Musso on another Maserati, and he became the last driver to concede a pole position time of less than 10 seconds. The eighth and ninth places went to Paul Frere in a Ferrari and Mike Hawthorn in a Vanwall, while the Englishman was overcome by various problems throughout all the days of training: first, on Thursday, on his fast lap, he knocked down a pigeon that hit his radiator and damaged the water tank, then the gearbox and clutch successively failed on the car. Nevertheless, these technical problems did not greatly confuse Tony Vandervell, and the head of Vanwall did not even deny himself the pleasure of personally driving a lap behind the wheel of his own racing car.


The winner of the last race and the leader of the championship, Maurice Trintignant, closed the top ten, who has not yet fully recovered from his accident in the sports car race in Monza. Meanwhile, newcomer Cesare Perdisa looked much worse on the Spa circuit than on the narrow streets of Monaco, and was more than half a minute behind the pole position time, taking only 11th place. However, the real losers of qualifying were Harry Schell, Roberto Mieres and Johnny Claes. The American, although he turned out to be faster than Trintignant, still did not look convincing enough, and it was to him that the Ferrari management refused to participate in the Grand Prix. Mieres was unlucky to twist his ankle even before the start of trainings, and the Argentine, overcoming the pain, drove only one lap, more than 50 seconds behind the pole position time. As for Claes, due to engine failure on his Maserati, he could not drive a single fast lap at all and left the Grand Prix even before the start of the race.



Despite serious fears of rain, heavy clouds dispersed overnight, and in the morning the bright sun completely dried the wet track. After Schell and Claes  dropping out of the Grand Prix, only 13 drivers take their places on the starting grid, but even before the start, Musso has problems with his Maserati, and the Italian's car is rolled back to the very end of the peleton.


Start. Fangio and Castellotti take off at the same time, but the Argentine still enters the first corner as the leader, ahead of the Italian and his teammate Moss. However, the Englishman does not hesitate for a second and immediately rushes to attack Lancia, and succeeds, taking second place!


In addition, the third Mercedes driver Kling also gets off to a good start, taking 4th place ahead of Farina and Behra. Meanwhile, Musso, who started behind the entire back of the field, already on the first lap passes Rosier, Perdisa and Mieres in succession and is already in 10th place!


Position after the 1st lap: Fangio, Moss, Castellotti, Kling, Farina, Behra, Frere, Trintignant, Hawthorn, Musso. 
Lap 2: Farina counterattacks Kling and regains 4th place!


Meanwhile, Musso wins back another position, overtaking Hawthorn.


Lap 3: Fangio drives the fastest on the track and is already 5 seconds ahead of Moss!


Meanwhile, Farina catches up with Castellotti and begins to press his young compatriot.


On the same lap, the engine on Trintignant's Ferrari starts to lose power, forcing the Frenchman to drive into the pits. Opening the hood, the mechanics discover that one of the spark plugs has literally fallen apart in two, and they quickly replace it.


After repairs, Maurice returns to the track last, lagging far behind the rest of the peleton.

Lap 4: Farina attacks Castellotti in the La Source hairpin and passes him, but already on the next straight the young Lancia driver counterattacks the former world champion and comes forward again!


On the same lap, Frere manages to get ahead of Kling, and thus the Belgian is already in 5th place.


Meanwhile, Behra makes a mistake before the last turn and his Maserati, spinning across the track, flies straight into the ditch! Fortunately, the Frenchman manages to do without injuries, and after leaving the car, he heads to the pits on foot.


Lap 5: After parrying Farina's attack, Castellotti picks up the pace and begins to break away from the Italian's Ferrari.


Lap 8: Kling attacks Frere and gets ahead again!


However, Musso is rapidly catching up behind them, and the Italian passes both rivals within one lap and thus rises to 5th place! In addition, on the same lap, Rosier manages to get ahead of Perdisa.


Lap 9: Hawthorn, who was in 8th place, drives into the pits due to an oil leak in the gearbox and leaves the race.


Lap 10: Behra finally gets to the Maserati pits and immediately demands another car for him.  The management of the Italian team cooperates their leader and immediately calls Mieres in, ordering him to give up his own. Taking a seat in the Argentine's Maserati, Behra rushes back to the track, while Roberto remains in the pits, clearly not impressed by this turn of events.


Position after 10 laps: Fangio, Moss, Castellotti, Farina, Musso, Kling, Frere, Behra, Rosier, Perdisa. Fangio confidently leads the race, bringing his advantage over Moss already to 9 seconds!


Lap 11: Kling and Musso continue their duel, and the German manages to get ahead again!


Lap 13: Musso counterattacks Kling and is ahead of the German Mercedes again!


On the same lap, Trintignant catches up with the struggling Rosier and Perdisa and passes them both, rising to 9th place.


Lap 15: Fangio continues to fly around the track and shows the fastest lap in the race!


Lap 17: Castellotti is in trouble! The young Italian had a great race, but due to problems with the gearbox, Eugenio had to stop the fight, losing the opportunity to get on the podium for the second Grand Prix in a row.


After the Italian's retirement, Farina takes the 3rd place, and Kling takes the 4th, who again manages to overtake Musso!


Lap 18: Fangio shows another fastest lap and brings his advantage over Moss to 14 seconds already!


Meanwhile, Musso counterattacks Kling and passes him once again!


Lap 19: Mercedes drivers are informed of Castellotti's retirement, and Fangio immediately slows down the pace. Meanwhile, the struggle between Kling and Musso continues, and the German comes forward again!


Lap 20: The engine on Musso's Maserati starts to lose power, and the Italian misses Frere!
Position after 20 laps: Fangio, Moss, Farina, Kling, Frere, Musso, Behra, Trintignant, Perdisa, Rosier. 
Lap 21: Musso pulls into the pits, where mechanics change the spark plugs on his car. As a result of the stop, the Italian drops to 7th place, missing Behra.


Lap 22: Kling is also in trouble! The German, in his turn, drives into the pits, but because of the oil pipeline failure he has no choice but to leave the race.


Lap 23: Despite the replacement of spark plugs, the engine on Musso's car still does not produce full power, and Trintignant begins to catch up with the Italian.
Lap 31: Trintignant passes Musso without much resistance, taking 6th place.


Last lap: Fangio crosses the finish line first, winning a convincing victory and regaining the lead in the championship! Following Juan- Manuel, Moss finishes, who, although inferior in this race to the Argentine champion, still managed to bring the German team the first double this season.


The third place goes to Farina, who drove the race quite confidently, having already won the 20th podium in his career. The fourth finishes the local racer Frere, who received a whole storm of applause from the fans and was even honored to climb the podium. The last two points for fifth place are shared by Maserati drivers Behra and Mieres.


Interesting facts:

- Eugenio Castellotti's first pole position;
- Nino Farina's 20th podium.

Driver standings


Alternative GP results

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