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The 1997 Belgian Grand Prix (formally the LV Belgian Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held at Spa-Francorchamps on 24 August 1997. It was the twelfth race of the 1997 Formula One World Championship.

1997 Belgian Grand Prix
Race 12 of 17 in the 1997 Formula One World Championship
Circuit Spa.png
Race details
Date 24 August 1997
Official name LV Belgian Grand Prix
Location Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 6.968 km (4.330 mi)
Distance 44 laps, 306.592 km (190.507 mi)
Weather Wet, then drying out with temperatures reaching up to 28 °C (82 °F)[1]
Pole position
Driver Williams-Renault
Time 1:49.450
Fastest lap
Driver Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault
Time 1:52.692 on lap 43
Podium
First Ferrari
Second Jordan-Peugeot
Third Williams-Renault

The 44-lap race was won by Michael Schumacher, driving a Ferrari. Giancarlo Fisichella finished second in a Jordan-Peugeot, with Heinz-Harald Frentzen third in a Williams-Renault after Mika Häkkinen's McLaren-Mercedes was disqualified due to a fuel irregularity. Schumacher's Drivers' Championship rival, Jacques Villeneuve, finished fifth in the other Williams-Renault, having started from pole position.

With the win, Schumacher extended his lead over Villeneuve in the Drivers' Championship to 11 points with five races remaining.

Contents

ReportEdit

The race is regarded by many as one of Schumacher's greatest drives. He started from third on the grid after qualifying had been dominated by his World Championship rival, Jacques Villeneuve. In the morning warm-up, which took place in hot, dry weather, Schumacher was only 15th. However, to everyone's surprise, heavy rain started to fall around half an hour before the scheduled race start and continued for around twenty minutes, completely changing the conditions and resulting in the field starting behind the safety car, the first time this happened in Formula One history.[2]

In the excitement, Schumacher's brother Ralf - who had qualified sixth - spun and crashed his Jordan at Stavelot while going to take his place on the grid. He was forced to start from the pit lane in his spare car. Explaining the incident to ITV later, he said: "I had nothing to lose, and I lost it.". Also during the period of cars assembling on the grid Michael Schumacher made exploratory laps (by returning to the pits rather than the grid) in both his race car and the spare Ferrari, enabling him to assess the track situation and choose the spare that had been set-up for intermediate weather conditions.[3]

Of the front runners, both Williams drivers and Jean Alesi in the Benetton - alongside Villeneuve on the front row - started on full wet tyres while the others started on intermediates. The safety car circulated for the first three laps, and at the end of lap 4 - the first proper racing lap - Villeneuve continued to lead from Alesi and Schumacher. However, this was where the German driver started to take control of the race. He made a brave pass inside Alesi at the La Source hairpin at the start of lap 5, then overtook Villeneuve at the Rivage loop on the same lap. By the end of the lap he was already 5.8 seconds ahead, and on the next lap he stretched this lead to 16.9 seconds, with Giancarlo Fisichella - whose Jordan had also started on intermediates - moving into second after Villeneuve unexpectedly pitted.[4]

Schumacher continued to pull further away, and by lap 12 his lead had reached a full minute, while Villeneuve had dropped to 16th following a second pit stop.[4] By now, the track was drying and the drivers were pitting for slick tyres. Schumacher pitted in this manner on lap 14 and thereafter cruised, eventually winning by 26 seconds. Fisichella held off the McLaren of Mika Häkkinen for second, thus achieving his best finish in F1 at the time; the top six was completed by the second Williams of Heinz-Harald Frentzen, the Sauber of Johnny Herbert and Villeneuve, who had charged back in the later stages of the race and set the fastest lap.

After the race, Häkkinen was disqualified due to a fuel irregularity, thus promoting Frentzen to third, Herbert to fourth, Villeneuve to fifth and the second Benetton of Gerhard Berger to sixth. Nonetheless, Schumacher extended his lead over Villeneuve in the Drivers' Championship to 11 points, while Ferrari led Williams by six points in the Constructors' Championship.

ClassificationEdit

QualifyingEdit

Pos No Driver Constructor Time Gap
1 3   Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault 1:49.450
2 7   Jean Alesi Benetton-Renault 1:49.759 +0.309
3 5   Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1:50.293 +0.843
4 12   Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Peugeot 1:50.470 +1.020
5 9   Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes 1:50.503 +1.053
6 11   Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Peugeot 1:50.520 +1.070
7 4   Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Renault 1:50.656 +1.206
8 2   Pedro Diniz Arrows-Yamaha 1:50.853 +1.403
9 1   Damon Hill Arrows-Yamaha 1:50.970 +1.520
10 10   David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 1:51.410 +1.960
11 16   Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas 1:51.725 +2.275
12 22   Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford 1:51.916 +2.466
13 17   Gianni Morbidelli Sauber-Petronas 1:52.094 +2.644
14 14   Jarno Trulli Prost-Mugen-Honda 1:52.274 +2.824
15 8   Gerhard Berger Benetton-Renault 1:52.391 +2.941
16 15   Shinji Nakano Prost-Mugen-Honda 1:52.749 +3.299
17 6   Eddie Irvine Ferrari 1:52.793 +3.343
18 23   Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford 1:52.886 +3.436
19 19   Mika Salo Tyrrell-Ford 1:52.897 +3.447
20 20   Ukyo Katayama Minardi-Hart 1:53.544 +4.094
21 18   Jos Verstappen Tyrrell-Ford 1:53.725 +4.275
22 21   Tarso Marques Minardi-Hart 1:54.505 +5.055
107% time: 1:57.112
Source:[5]

RaceEdit

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 5   Michael Schumacher Ferrari 44 1:33:46.717 3 10
2 12   Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Peugeot 44 + 26.753 4 6
3 4   Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Renault 44 + 32.147 7 4
4 16   Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas 44 + 39.025 11 3
5 3   Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault 44 + 42.103 1 2
6 8   Gerhard Berger Benetton-Renault 44 + 1:03.741 15 1
7 2   Pedro Diniz Arrows-Yamaha 44 + 1:25.931 8  
8 7   Jean Alesi Benetton-Renault 44 + 1:42.008 2  
9 17   Gianni Morbidelli Sauber-Petronas 44 + 1:42.582 13  
10 6   Eddie Irvine Ferrari 43 Collision 17  
11 19   Mika Salo Tyrrell-Ford 43 + 1 Lap 19  
12 23   Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford 43 + 1 Lap 18  
13 1   Damon Hill Arrows-Yamaha 42 Wheel Nut 9  
14 20   Ukyo Katayama Minardi-Hart 42 Engine 20  
15 14   Jarno Trulli Prost-Mugen-Honda 42 + 2 Laps 14  
DSQ 9   Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes 44 Fuel Irregularity (+ 30.856) 5  
Ret 18   Jos Verstappen Tyrrell-Ford 25 Spun Off 21  
Ret 11   Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Peugeot 21 Spun Off 6  
Ret 10   David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 19 Spun Off 10  
Ret 21   Tarso Marques Minardi-Hart 18 Spun Off 22  
Ret 22   Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford 8 Steering 12  
Ret 15   Shinji Nakano Prost-Mugen-Honda 5 Electrical 16  
Source:[6]

NotesEdit

  • This was the 200th Grand Prix for Minardi.

Championship standings after the raceEdit

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Weather info for the 1997 Belgian Grand Prix at Weather Underground
  2. ^ Collantine, Keith (24 August 2017). "Schumacher capitalises as Williams get it wrong in the rain again". F1 Fanatic. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  3. ^ Collantine, Keith (24 August 2017). "Schumacher capitalises as Williams get it wrong in the rain again". F1 Fanatic. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Grand Prix Results: Belgian GP, 1997". Grandprix.com. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Belgium 1997 - Qualifications". StatsF1. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  6. ^ "1997 Belgian Grand Prix". formula1.com. Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Belgium 1997 - Championship • STATS F1". www.statsf1.com. Retrieved 13 March 2019.


Previous race:
1997 Hungarian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1997 season
Next race:
1997 Italian Grand Prix
Previous race:
1996 Belgian Grand Prix
Belgian Grand Prix Next race:
1998 Belgian Grand Prix