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 The 1961 Belgian Grand Prix was staged at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium as the third round of the 1961 FIA Formula One World Championship.[1] It was the first visit to the circuit since the 1960 Belgian Grand Prix, which went down as one of the darkest days in F1 history after two fatal accidents.[1]

Fortunately, the XXI Grand Prix de Belgique would not see a repeat of the previous year's events as Phil Hill led home a Ferrari one-two-three-four as he claimed his second career win.[1] The American had initially lost the lead to Olivier Gendebien early on, with Richie Ginther and Wolfgang von Trips making it an exciting four way scrap for the lead, until Hill hit the front again to take victory.[1] German von Trips and American Ginther completed the podium ahead of Gendebien, with John Surtees and Dan Gurney completing the scorers.[1] 

BackgroundEdit

Three weeks had passed since the Dutch Grand Prix, enough time for Innes Ireland to recover from his fractured leg sustained in the season opener in Monaco.[1] He was therefore able to take the wheel of a brand new Lotus 21 to battle alongside Jim Clark for Team Lotus, with Trevor Taylor returning to their sportscar programme.[1] Elsewhere, a freshly built Ferrari 156 would arrive to support the Italian manufacturer, handed to Olivier Gendebien for his home race, while his seat at Equipe Nationale Belge was taken over by fellow countryman Willy Mairesse.[1]

An initial entry list of 25 cars was submitted to the race organisers ahead of the weekend, presenting a problem for the awarding of starting money.[1] They only had the budget to support 19 start prizes, 16 of which were guaranteed to the manufacturer backed entries or former winners, meaning only 3 of the remaining 9 drivers would be awarded start money, a vital lifeline for the numerous privateers that made up the field.[1] Many would take part in practice, but would decide whether to race or not only after the qualifying results had been announced.[1]

The Championship battle saw Stirling Moss and Wolfgang von Trips arrive at the third race of the season level on 12 points each, a win and a fourth place each in the opening two rounds. Phil Hill was next, the only other man in double figures, with team mate and countryman Richie Ginther sat in fourth. Jim Clark, Dan Gurney and the two Cooper-Climax drivers Bruce McLaren and Jack Brabham were the only other scorers with a quarter of the 1961 season already completed.

Ferrari, meanwhile, were leading the charge in the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers, bringing a two point lead over Lotus-Climax with the to Belgium. Cooper and Porsche were the only other scorers in that Championship, the German outfit ahead courtesy of Gurney's previous fifth place finish in Monaco.

Entry listEdit

The full entry list for the 1961 Belgian Grand Prix is outlined below:

No. Driver Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
2 West Germany Wolfgang von Trips Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 156 Ferrari 178 V6 1.5 D
4 United States Phil Hill Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 156 Ferrari 178 V6 1.5 D
6 United States Richie Ginther Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 156 Ferrari 178 V6 1.5 D
8 Belgium Olivier Gendebien Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 156 Ferrari 178 V6 1.5 D
10 Belgium Willy Mairesse Belgium Equipe Nationale Belge Lotus 18 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
12 Belgium Lucien Bianchi Belgium Equipe Nationale Belge Lotus 18 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
14 United Kingdom Stirling Moss United Kingdom R.R.C. Walker Racing Team Lotus 18/21 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
16 United Kingdom Cliff Allison United Kingdom UDT Laystall Racing Team Lotus 18 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
18 Sweden Jo Bonnier West Germany Porsche System Engineering Porsche 718 Porsche 547/3 F4 1.5 D
20 United States Dan Gurney West Germany Porsche System Engineering Porsche 718 Porsche 547/3 F4 1.5 D
22 Netherlands Carel Godin de Beaufort Netherlands Ecurie Maarsbergen Porsche 718 Porsche 547/3 F4 1.5 D
24 United Kingdom John Surtees United Kingdom Yeoman Credit Racing Team Cooper T53 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
26 France Maurice Trintignant Italy Scuderia Serenissima Cooper T51 Maserati 6-1500 L4 1.5 D
28 Australia Jack Brabham United Kingdom Cooper Car Company Cooper T55 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
30 New Zealand Bruce McLaren United Kingdom Cooper Car Company Cooper T55 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
32 United Kingdom Innes Ireland United Kingdom Team Lotus Lotus 21 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
34 United Kingdom Jim Clark United Kingdom Team Lotus Lotus 21 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
36 United Kingdom Graham Hill United Kingdom Owen Racing Organisation BRM P48/57 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
38 United Kingdom Tony Brooks United Kingdom Owen Racing Organisation BRM P48/57 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
40 United Kingdom Jackie Lewis United KingdomPrivateer Cooper T53 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
42 United Kingdom Tony March United KingdomPrivateer Lotus 18 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
44 United States Masten Gregory Italy Camoradi International Cooper T53 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
46 Italy Lorenzo Bandini Italy Scuderia Centro Sud Cooper T53 Maserati 6-1500 L4 1.5 D
48 West Germany Wolfgang Seidel Italy Scuderia Colonia Lotus 18 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
50 United Kingdom Ian Burgess Italy Camoradi International Lotus 18 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
Source:[2]

Practice OverviewEdit

QualifyingEdit

The rather confusing starting money situation meant that, although there were 25 cars and 25 grid slots, effectively 9 drivers were having to fight for 3 money awarding places.[1] 16 of the factory drivers and previous winners of the race would automatically be given starting money according to the organisers, while several teams opted not to enter cars after qualifying despite sending their cars out to practice, meaning there would be 22 cars expected to start.[1]

ReportEdit

Unaffected by fears of prize money, Ferrari dominated the combined practice and qualifying sessions to claim four of the five grid slots available on the first two rows.[3] Phil Hill went fastest, lapping the Spa-Francorchamps circuit four fifths of a second faster than team mate Wolfgang von Trips, and was the only man to complete the lap in under four minutes.[3] Olivier Gendebien claimed third to make it a clean sweep of the front row for the red machines, denying John Surtees a front row start for the first time all season.[3] The Brit would start fourth, almost six and three quarter seconds slower than Hill, with Richie Ginther completing Ferrari's quartet in fifth, just a tenth off of Surtees' time.[3]

Gendebien's usual team mates at Equipe Nationale Belge, however, both had torrid times on Saturday, writing off both Emeryson-Climax cars late in the final session, meaning they looked set to miss the start.[1] Elsewhere, the single UDT Laystall Racing Team entry was being used by two drivers, as Cliff Allison and Henry Taylor competed for the chance to drive the car in the race.[1] Ultimately, however, neither of them would get the chance, as Allison wrote of the car (and his career) in a huge accident that destroyed the Lotus 18, and left the Brit with severe leg injuries.[1]

Qualifying ResultsEdit

The full qualifying results for the 1961 Belgian Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time[3] Gap
1 4 United States Phil Hill Ferrari 3:59.3
2 2 West Germany Wolfgang von Trips Ferrari 4:00.1 +0.8s
3 8 Belgium Olivier Gendebien Ferrari 4:03.0 +3.7s
4 24 United Kingdom John Surtees Cooper-Climax 4:06.0 +6.7s
5 6 United States Richie Ginther Ferrari 4:06.1 +6.8s
6 36 United Kingdom Graham Hill BRM-Climax 4:07.6 +8.3s
7 38 United Kingdom Tony Brooks BRM-Climax 4:07.9 +8.6s
8 14 United Kingdom Stirling Moss Lotus-Climax 4:08.2 +8.9s
9 18 Sweden Jo Bonnier Porsche 4:08.3 +9.0s
10 20 United States Dan Gurney Porsche 4:08.4 +9.1s
11 28 Australia Jack Brabham Cooper-Climax 4:08.6 +9.3s
12 44 United States Masten Gregory Cooper-Climax 4:10.2 +10.9s
13 40 United Kingdom Jackie Lewis Cooper-Climax 4:11.1 +11.8s
14 22 Netherlands Carel Godin de Beaufort Porsche 4:16.7 +17.4s
15 30 New Zealand Bruce McLaren Cooper-Climax 4:17.4 +18.1s
16 34 United Kingdom Jim Clark Lotus-Climax 4:17.7 +18.4s
17 46 Italy Lorenzo Bandini Cooper-Maserati 4:19.0 +19.7s
18 32 United Kingdom Innes Ireland Lotus-Climax 4:20.0 +20.7s
19* 10 Belgium Willy Mairesse Lotus-Climax 4:20.6 +21.3s
20 26 France Maurice Trintignant Cooper-Maserati 4:21.4 +22.1s
21 42 United Kingdom Tony Marsh Lotus-Climax 4:24.2 +24.9s
22* 12 Belgium Lucien Bianchi Lotus-Climax 4:27.3 +28.0s
23 48 West Germany Wolfgang Seidel Lotus-Climax 4:27.4 +28.1s
24 50 United Kingdom Ian Burgess Lotus-Climax 4:34.6 +35.3s
WD 16 United Kingdom Cliff Allison Lotus-Climax Withdrawn
  • * Mairesse and Bianchi set their best times in their Emeryson-Climax cars, but were registered as using Lotus-Climax machinery instead as they would start the race with the latter.
  • Marsh, Seidel and Burgess opted not to start the race on the grounds of not being paid starting money.
  • Car #16 withdrawn after Allison's accident.

GridEdit

Pos Pos Pos
Driver Driver Driver
______________
1 ______________
Phil Hill 2 ______________
Wolfgang von Trips 3
Olivier Gendebien
______________
4 ______________
John Surtees 5
Richie Ginther
______________
6 ______________
Graham Hill 7 ______________
Tony Brooks 8
Stirling Moss
______________
9 ______________
Jo Bonnier 10
Dan Gurney
______________
11 ______________
Jack Brabham 12 ______________
Masten Gregory 13
Jackie Lewis
______________
14 ______________
Carel Godin de Beaufort 15
Bruce McLaren
______________
16 ______________
Jim Clark 17 ______________
Lorenzo Bandini 18
Innes Ireland
______________
19 ______________
Willy Mairesse 20
Maurice Trintignant
______________
21 ______________
Lucien Bianchi 22 ______________
23

RaceEdit

Dry and warm, albeit with a slight cross wind along the winding track through Eau Rouge, the Belgian Grand Prix of 1961 was set to start at three in the afternoon.[4] The two Equipe Nationale Belge drivers Lucien Bianchi and Willy Mairesse managed to use the two Lotus-Climaxs of Wolfgang Seidel and Tony Marsh, both of whom opted not to start, and so would be on the grid for their home race.[1] Innes Ireland, meanwhile, was wandering around the starting grid with a slight limp but was otherwise prepared to start, with the flag dropping just moments after 15:00 local time.[1]

ReportEdit

A stunning start for Graham Hill launched him straight into the lead of the race, by-passing all four Ferraris before the cars made it through Eau Rouge.[4] Also starting well was John Surtees, who immediately found himself blocked by Phil Hill as Graham Hill screamed down the outside of the leaders.[4] The two Hills and Surtees were then followed by the two other scarlet Ferraris of Wolfgang von Trips and Richie Ginther, while Dan Gurney beat home hero Olivier Gendebien in the yellow Fezza, yellow being the national racing colours for Belgium.[4]

By the mid-point on the first lap Phil Hill was leading from Ginther, Graham Hill having struggled down the long full throttle run from Eau Rouge to Les Combes.[4] Gendebien, meanwhile, was putting on a good display, climbing into fourth as he diced with von Trips and Surtees having dispatched with Gurney on the run out of Raidillon.[4] Indeed, the Belgian's ascent would continue, as the yellow Ferrari steamed across the line at the end of the first lap in second having just been re-passed by Phil Hill on the drive out of the La Source hairpin.[4] Graham Hill had tumbled sixth, suddenly in the sights of Jo Bonnier, while Surtees tried valiantly to keep the four Ferraris in sight as the cars started the second lap.[4]

Unfortunately for Surtees, the Ferraris were in imperious form, and another reshuffle during the second lap saw Gendebien lead the quartet across the start/finish line, with a sizeable gap already forming behind them.[4] Furtherback, an interesting fight was developing between Bonnier, Gurney and defending Champion Jack Brabham, the Cooper-Climax driver managing to use the T55s lightweight design to throw his car into the corners and keep with the more powerful Porsches.[4] Further down Jim Clark and Innes Ireland were struggling to make their way through the field, Clark having had to make an early pitstop while Ireland struggled with his leg injury, while the other two Belgian drivers Bianchi and Mairesse were dicing at the lower end of the field.[4]

A mistake for Ginther saw him lose valuable time after a mistake at the hairpin, sliding wide to leave the quartet as a trio for the time being, Gendebien standing out as he scrapped with Phil Hill and von Trips.[4] Ginther would slowly close back to them, while Gendebien would lead on lap six through until lap seven, when he suddenly found himself under attack from von Trips, who had taken Phil Hill through the hairpin.[4] A daring move through Malmedy put the German into the lead, swiftly followed by his American team mate who was able to take advantage of Gendebien making room.[4] The two works drivers were also quick to gap themselves to the Belgian, leaving him to scrap with the resurgent Ginther.[4]

Hill and von Trips were then off on a race long duel between themselves for the win, Gendebien slipping away by a handful of seconds a lap as Ginther cruised past just before half distance.[4] Elsewhere an incredible battle was being carried out between Surtees and Graham Hill over fifth place, the two sliding around every corner of Spa just millimetres apart to be best of the rest.[4] Their dice, however, would only be a short affair as Graham Hill pulled off with a third of the race still to go with a broken exhaust, joining Mairesse, Bruce McLaren, Ireland, Bianchi and Brabham on the side lines.[4]

Graham Hill would manage to rejoin with a hastily repaired exhaust a few laps later, before ultimately succumbing to an oil leak on the final lap.[4] His team mate Tony Brooks lost time early on after having to pit for a magneto issue, meaning he ended the race as the last finisher after a battle with Clark.[4] Elsewhere, an enticing battle was developing for the final point, as Bonnier and Gurney diced for sixth just ahead of Stirling Moss, whose quiet race saw him hampered by the under powered Climax engine in the back of his Lotus 18.[4] Try as he might, the Brit was simply unable to nose his car in front, and before long Gurney had dealt a decisive blow to his team mate with a handful of laps to go and sprinted away, with Bonnier also building a gap to the soon-to-be ex-Championship leader.[4]

But the attention was at the head of the field, where von Trips and Phil Hill continuing to exchange blow and counter blow around the eight mile course, the pair starting the final lap glued together with the American just ahead.[4] They would continue to exchange blow and counter blow through their final tour of Spa, before a last gasp attempt by von Trips was resisted by Hill at the hairpin, leaving the two scarlet Ferraris to cross the line less than a second apart.[4] Ginther would cross the line almost twenty seconds later in a lonely third with Gendebien fourth as the only other man inside a minute of the winner.[4] Surtees and Gurney completed the points, while Bonnier and Moss were the only other drivers to finish the race on the lead lap.[4]

ResultsEdit

The full results for the 1961 Belgian Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 4 United States Phil Hill Ferrari 30 2:03:03.8 1 9
2 2 West Germany Wolfgang von Trips Ferrari 30 +0.7s 2 6
3 6 United States Richie Ginther Ferrari 30 +19.5s 5 4
4 8 Belgium Olivier Gendebien Ferrari 30 +45.6s 3 3
5 24 United Kingdom John Surtees Cooper-Climax 30 +1:26.8 4 2
6 20 United States Dan Gurney Porsche 30 +1:31.0 10 1
7 18 Sweden Jo Bonnier Porsche 30 +2:47.1 9
8 14 United Kingdom Stirling Moss Lotus-Climax 30 +3:55.6 8
9 40 United Kingdom Jackie Lewis Cooper-Climax 29 +1 lap 13
10 44 United States Masten Gregory Cooper-Climax 29 +1 lap 12
11 22 Netherlands Carel Godin de Beaufort Porsche 28 +2 laps 14
12 34 United Kingdom Jim Clark Lotus-Climax 24 +6 laps 16
13 38 United Kingdom Tony Brooks BRM-Climax 24 +6 laps 7
Ret 36 United Kingdom Graham Hill BRM-Climax 24 Oil leak 6
Ret 26 France Maurice Trintignant Cooper-Maserati 23 Transmission 20
Ret 46 Italy Lorenzo Bandini Cooper-Maserati 20 Oil pressure 17
Ret 28 Australia Jack Brabham Cooper-Climax 12 Connecting rod 11
Ret 12 Belgium Lucien Bianchi Lotus-Climax 9 Oil line 21
Ret 32 United Kingdom Innes Ireland Lotus-Climax 9 Engine 18
Ret 30 New Zealand Bruce McLaren Cooper-Climax 9 Fuel Injection 15
Ret 10 Belgium Willy Mairesse Lotus-Climax 7 Engine 19
DNS 42 United Kingdom Tony Marsh Lotus-Climax Starting money
DNS 48 West Germany Wolfgang Seidel Lotus-Climax Starting money
DNS 50 United Kingdom Ian Burgess Lotus-Climax Starting money
WD 16 United Kingdom Cliff Allison Lotus-Climax
Source:[5]

MilestonesEdit

StandingsEdit

Victory for Phil Hill saw him take the lead in the Drivers' Championship, now leading by a single point from team mate Wolfgang von Trips. No points for Stirling Moss meant that he slipped to third, seven points off of Hill's total, and left him tied on points with Richie Ginther, while Scot Jim Clark completed the top five, eight points further back. Olivier Gendebien now sat above Dan Gurney for sixth, while John Surtees, Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren rounded out the points.

The clean sweep of the podium saw Ferrari extend their lead in the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers, as they denied any thing more than two points for Lotus-Climax. Porsche added a point to their tally but still slipped behind Cooper-Climax as the only other manufacturers to have scored in 1961.

Drivers' World Championship
Pos. Driver Pts +/-
1 United States Phil Hill 19 ▲2
2 West Germany Wolfgang von Trips 18 ▼1
3 United Kingdom Stirling Moss 12
4 United States Richie Ginther 12
5 United Kingdom Jim Clark 4 ▲2
6 Belgium Olivier Gendebien 3 ▲3
7 United States Dan Gurney 3 ▼1
8 United Kingdom John Surtees 2 ▲2
9 New Zealand Bruce McLaren 1 ▼2
10 Australia Jack Brabham 1 ▼2
Constructors' World Championship
Pos. Team Pts +/-
1 Italy Ferrari 22
2 United Kingdom Lotus-Climax 12
3 United Kingdom Cooper-Climax 4 ▲1
4 Germany Porsche 3 ▼1

ReferencesEdit

Images and Videos:

References:
  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: BELGIAN GP, 1961', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr097.html, (Accessed 27/04/2016)
  2. 'Belgium 1961', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1961/belgique/engages.aspx, (Accessed 27/04/2016)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 'Belgium 1961: Qualifying', statsf1.com, (StatsF1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1961/belgique/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 27/04/2016)
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 4.20 4.21 4.22 4.23 4.24 4.25 scalex2000, '1961 Spa Belgium GP', youtube.com, (YouTube, 04/11/2012), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxOwxsob67Q, (Accessed 28/04/2016)
  5. 'Belgium 1961: Race Results', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1961/belgique/classement.aspx, (Accessed 28/04/2016)
V T E Belgium Belgian Grand Prix
Circuits Spa-Francorchamps (1950 - 1970, 1983, 1985 - Present), Nivelles (1972, 1974), Zolder (1973, 1975 - 1982, 1984)
Track map of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium
Races 1950 • 1951 • 1952 • 1953 • 1954 • 1955 • 1956 • 1957 • 1958 • 1959 • 1960 • 1961 • 1962 • 1963 • 1964 • 1965 • 1966 • 1967 • 1968 • 1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1982 • 1983 • 1984 • 1985 • 1986 • 1987 • 1988 • 1989 • 1990 • 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018
V T E 1961 Formula One Season
Tyres Dunlop
Races Monaco • Netherlands • Belgium • France • Britain • Germany • Italy • United States
See also 1960 Formula One Season • 1962 Formula One Season • Category
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