The XLVI Champion Grand Prix de Belgique, otherwise known simply as the 1988 Belgian Grand Prix, was the eleventh round of the 1988 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged on the 28 August 1988 on the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. The race would see Ayrton Senna claim victory ahead of teammate Alain Prost, a result which ensured that McLaren-Honda secured the Constructors' Championship with five races to spare.
The race itself was preceded by the death of one of Enzo Ferrari, one of motorsport's most famous faces and founder of the Ferrari team. His death left a power vacuum at the head of the company, although there were no concerns that FIAT would curtail the Scuderia without il Commendatore looking over their shoulders.
Into the race weekend itself and normal order was resumed in Belgium, with turbocharged cars once again dominating the field during qualifying. As ever, it was Senna who claimed pole ahead of teammate Prost, while the two Ferraris of Gerhard Berger and Michele Alboreto shared the second row.
The start of the race would see Prost make a better start, with Senna resisting the temptation to pressure his teammate's lunge into La Source. Indeed, the pair had had a gentleman's agreement not to challenge one-another into the infamously tight hairpin, in fear of clashing and then crashing.
There was no agreement, however, about not fighting over the rest of the race, meaning Senna was free to draft past the Frenchman on the run to Les Combes. With that the Brazilian was off into the lead, leaving Prost to try and keep up for the rest of the afternoon.
Behind, Berger would lead the anti-McLaren chase, although an electrical issue ultimately curtailed his race before the end of lap eleven. Alboreto hence took up the charge for the rest of the afternoon, albeit while being stalked by the two Benetton-Ford Cosworths.
Indeed, behind those three would be a thrilling fight for sixth, with Satoru Nakajima, Nelson Piquet and the two Arrows-Ford Cosworths all exchanging blows. Ultimately it was Piquet who emerged at the head of the battle pack, and was even briefly able to get ahead of Alessandro Nannini, only for a brake issue to end his charge.
Out front, meanwhile, Senna eeked out a thirty second lead ahead of Prost, a win that handed the Brazilian a three point lead in the Championship. Their one-two also settled the Constructors' Championship for McLaren-Honda, setting a new record for the earliest title win.
Elsewhere an engine failure for Alboreto would promote Thierry Boutsen and Nannini into third and fourth, only for them to both to be disqualified due to irregularities in their fuel. Ivan Capelli hence claimed the final podium spot ahead of Piquet, while the two Arrows ended the day in the top six.
Ayrton Senna had moved into the lead of the Championship for the first time all season last time out in Hungary, having matched Alain Prost's 66 point tally. Indeed, the Brazilian was technically ahead of his teammate on count-back, holding six wins to the Frenchman's four after ten races, with both set to take dropped scores later on in the campaign. Best of the rest was still Gerhard Berger in third, although with a 38 point gap between himself and the leaders the Austrian was resigned to finishing there ahead of the trip to Spa.
In the Constructors' Championship, meanwhile, the Hungarian Grand Prix had been another McLaren-Honda benefit, with their seventh one-two of the season leaving them on 132 points. That, in turn, meant that the Anglo-Japanese alliance had moved 88 points clear of second placed Ferrari, and hence meant that McLaren-Honda could claim the crown with five races to go at the following race Belgium. Indeed, the Scuderia would have to take a one-two, with McLaren failing to finish sixth or higher, just to keep the title "fight" alive beyond the trip to Spa.
The full entry list for the 1988 Belgian Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 1988 Belgian Grand Prix are outlined below:
|6||20||Thierry Boutsen||Benetton-Ford Cosworth||1:57.455||2:15.236||+3.737s|
|7||19||Alessandro Nannini||Benetton-Ford Cosworth||1:57.535||2:17.077||+3.817s|
|15||36||Alex Caffi||Dallara-Ford Cosworth||1:59.736||2:18.052||+6.018s|
|16||30||Philippe Alliot||Lola-Ford Cosworth||1:59.906||2:21.219||+6.188s|
|18||14||Philippe Streiff||AGS-Ford Cosworth||2:00.410||2:23.953||+6.692s|
|19||22||Andrea de Cesaris||Rial-Ford Cosworth||2:00.521||2:17.028||+6.803s|
|21||3||Jonathan Palmer||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||2:01.078||2:20.594||+7.360s|
|22||31||Gabriele Tarquini||Coloni-Ford Cosworth||2:01.359||2:19.939||+7.641s|
|23||29||Yannick Dalmas||Lola-Ford Cosworth||2:01.467||2:19.909||+7.749s|
|DNQ||24||Luis Pérez-Sala||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||2:02.129||—||+8.411s|
|DNQ||23||Pierluigi Martini||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||2:02.314||—||+8.596s|
|DNQ||33||Stefano Modena||EuroBrun-Ford Cosworth||2:02.322||2:19.880||+8.604s|
|DNQ||4||Julian Bailey||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||2:02.519||—||+8.801s|
|DNPQ||32||Oscar Larrauri||EuroBrun-Ford Cosworth||2:04.208|
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
- Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
|20||Andrea de Cesaris|
The full results for the 1988 Belgian Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- * Johansson, Palmer and Schneider were all still classified despite retiring as they had completed 90% of the race distance.
- † Tarquini was unable to be classified as he failed to complete 90% of the race distance.
- ‡ Boutsen and Nannini were retroactively disqualified from the results after using illegal fuel.
- McLaren-Honda declared as the 1988 FIA Formula One World Championship for Constructors' Champions.
- This was McLaren's fourth World Championship as a constructor.
- Honda secured their third title as an engine supplier.
- Ayrton Senna claimed his 25th career pole position.
- Senna secured his thirteenth victory.
- McLaren claimed their 66th win as a constructor.
- Honda secured their 38th victory as an engine supplier.
- Maiden podium finish for Ivan Capelli.
- March claimed their first podium since the 1976 Italian Grand Prix.
Ayrton Senna had moved three points clear of Alain Prost at the head of the Championship, with the Frenchman set to hit the eleven race points limit with his next point score. Those two were the only two drivers mathematically in the title fight, for Gerhard Berger had slipped 47 points off the lead with just 45 left to fight for. He was hence leading his own fight for third, ten points ahead of Nelson Piquet.
In the Constructors' Championship, meanwhile, McLaren-Honda had already secured the crown, their eleventh straight win of the season, and eighth one-two, putting them onto 147 points. Incredibly, that translated into a 103 point lead with a third of the season still to go, with Ferrari only able to score 75 points across the rest of the season. They were now officially in a fight to finish the season in second, with double the points of Benetton-Ford Cosworth in third.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
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- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 '11. Belgium 1988', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1988/belgique.aspx, (Accessed 11/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Belgium 1988: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1988/belgique/engages.aspx, (Accessed 11/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Belgian Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1988/races/537/belgium/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 11/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Belgian Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1988/races/537/belgium/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 11/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Belgium 1988: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1988/belgique/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 11/04/2019)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 'Belgium 1988: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1988/belgique/classement.aspx, (Accessed 11/04/2019)
- ↑ '1988 Belgian GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1988&gp=Belgian%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 11/04/2019)
|V T E||Belgian Grand Prix|
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