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The 1997 Belgian Grand Prix, otherwise known as the LV Grand Prix de Belgique, was the twelfth round of the 1997 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Spa, Belgium, on the 24 August 1997.[1] The race would see Michael Schumacher claim a stunning victory in incredibly wet conditions, with the Grand Prix started behind the Safety Car for the first time in F1 history.[1]

Qualifying had seen Schumacher completely outclassed by title rival Jacques Villeneuve, who swept to pole position by three tenths of a second.[1] Jean Alesi grabbed second for Benetton-Renault, while Schumacher managed to secure third ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella of Jordan-Peugeot.[1]

Raceday dawned hot and dry, with Schumacher showing no signs of pace, ending the warm-up down in fifteenth.[1] However, as the field assembled on the grid for the start a cloud burst swept across the Ardens, resulting in monsoon-like conditions and the start to be delayed.[1]

The rain eventually passed and the race officially started behind the safety car, by which time the Spa circuit was bathed in 28°C heat.[1] Villeneuve and Alesi had led the field away on full wets, while Schumacher, ever the gambler, opted for intermediates.[1]

An eventful three laps behind the safety car saw Mika Häkkinen run off circuit and lose two places, only to overtake both his passers and reclaim fifth.[1] The Finn later received a reprimand and suspended one-race ban for overtaking behind the safety car, with everyone unclear on the rules.[1]

Regardless, the race finally got underway at the start of lap four, with Villeneuve initially able to break clear with Alesi.[1] However, it quickly became clear that the circuit was significantly less damp than it had been when the field first left the grid, allowing Schumacher to come to the fore.[1]

A dive past Alesi into La Source and then a slither around the outside of Villeneuve at Rivage and the #5 Ferrari was away, with Schumacher instantly building a huge lead.[1] Indeed, come the end of lap nine the German racer was a full minute ahead, and duly pitted for slick tyres on lap 14 without losing the lead.[1]

Villeneuve, meanwhile, would destroy his slim hopes by locking up so badly at the Busstop that he slid into the pitlane on lap six, prompting Williams-Renault to put him on intermediates.[1] However, the Canadian's pace proved no better and so they quickly brought him back in, deliberately, for slicks, although by that stage Villeneuve had slumped to sixteenth.[1]

Villeneuve's demise allowed Fisichella to secure second, with the Italian copying Schumacher's sprint clear.[1] Those two would run unopposed for the rest of the afternoon, while Häkkinen emerged from the early chaos in third.[1]

With that the race was effectively over, turning into a procession as the circuit dried.[1] Schumacher duly won at a canter ahead of Fisichella and Häkkinen, while Villeneuve battled his way back up to sixth behind Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Johnny Herbert.[1]

After the race, however, there would be an investigation into the two McLaren-Mercedes, which were accused of using illegal fuel during practice/qualifying.[1] The fuel samples submitted were duly declared illegal and Häkkinen disqualified, promoting Frentzen into third and Villeneuve into fifth.[1]

BackgroundEdit

Jacques Villeneuve used his fifth win of the season to close the gap to Michael Schumacher at the head of the Championship, leaving Hungary just three behind the German racer. Those two were now the only real contenders for the title, with Jean Alesi now 31 points behind Villeneuve, the equivalent to three race wins. The Frenchman was therefore in a fight to retain third, with six drivers covered by seven points in that particular squabble.

In the Constructors Championship it had been a positive day for Williams-Renault, who were able to carve into Ferrari's lead. Indeed, Williams ended the afternoon just two points behind the Scuderia, with those two, like their lead drivers, set to duel for the crown amongst themselves. Behind, Benetton-Renault were in an increasingly lonely third, with a fair gap back to McLaren-Mercedes in fourth.

Entry listEdit

The full entry list for the 1997 Belgian Grand Prix is outlined below:

No. Driver Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
1 United Kingdom Damon Hill United Kingdom Danka Arrows Yamaha Arrows A18 Yamaha OX11A 3.0 V10 B
2 Brazil Pedro Diniz United Kingdom Danka Arrows Yamaha Arrows A18 Yamaha OX11A 3.0 V10 B
3 Canada Jacques Villeneuve United Kingdom Rothmans Williams Renault Williams FW19 Renault RS9 3.0 V10 G
4 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen United Kingdom Rothmans Williams Renault Williams FW19 Renault RS9 3.0 V10 G
5 Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari F310B Ferrari 046/2 3.0 V10 G
6 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Italy Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari F310B Ferrari 046/2 3.0 V10 G
7 France Jean Alesi Italy Mild Seven Benetton Renault Benetton B197 Renault RS9 3.0 V10 G
8 Austria Gerhard Berger Italy Mild Seven Benetton Renault Benetton B197 Renault RS9 3.0 V10 G
9 Finland Mika Häkkinen United Kingdom West McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/12 Mercedes FO 110E 3.0 V10 G
10 United Kingdom David Coulthard United Kingdom West McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/12 Mercedes FO 110E 3.0 V10 G
11 Germany Ralf Schumacher Ireland B&H Total Jordan Peugeot Jordan 197 Peugeot A14 3.0 V10 G
12 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Ireland B&H Total Jordan Peugeot Jordan 197 Peugeot A14 3.0 V10 G
14 Italy Jarno Trulli France Prost Gauloises Blondes Prost JS45 Mugen-Honda MF-301HB 3.0 V10 B
15 Japan Shinji Nakano France Prost Gauloises Blondes Prost JS45 Mugen-Honda MF-301HB 3.0 V10 B
16 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Switzerland Red Bull Sauber Petronas Sauber C16 Petronas SPE-01 3.0 V10 G
17 Italy Gianni Morbidelli Switzerland Red Bull Sauber Petronas Sauber C16 Petronas SPE-01 3.0 V10 G
18 Netherlands Jos Verstappen United Kingdom PIAA Tyrrell Tyrrell 025 Ford Cosworth ED4 3.0 V10 G
19 Finland Mika Salo United Kingdom PIAA Tyrrell Tyrrell 025 Ford Cosworth ED4 3.0 V10 G
20 Japan Ukyo Katayama Italy Minardi Team Minardi M197 Hart 830 AV7 3.0 V10 B
21 Brazil Tarso Marques Italy Minardi Team Minardi M197 Hart 830 AV7 3.0 V10 B
22 Brazil Rubens Barrichello United Kingdom HSBC Malaysia Stewart Ford Stewart SF01 Ford Cosworth VJ Zetec-R 3.0 V10 B
23 Denmark Jan Magnussen United Kingdom HSBC Malaysia Stewart Ford Stewart SF01 Ford Cosworth VJ Zetec-R 3.0 V10 B
Source: [2]

Practice OverviewEdit

QualifyingEdit

Qualifying ReportEdit

Qualifying ResultsEdit

The full qualifying results for the 1997 Belgian Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time Gap Ave. Speed
1 3 Canada Jacques Villeneuve United Kingdom Williams-Renault 1:49.450 229.157 km/h
2 7 France Jean Alesi Italy Benetton-Renault 1:49.759 + 0.309s 228.512 km/h
3 5 Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Ferrari 1:50.293 + 0.843s 227.405 km/h
4 12 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Ireland Jordan-Peugeot 1:50.470 + 1.020s 227.041 km/h
5 9 Finland Mika Häkkinen United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 1:50.503 +1.053s 226.973 km/h
6 11 Germany Ralf Schumacher Ireland Jordan-Peugeot 1:50.520 +1.070s 226.938 km/h
7 4 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen United Kingdom Williams-Renault 1:50.656 +1.206s 226.659 km/h
8 2 Brazil Pedro Diniz United Kingdom Arrows-Yamaha 1:50.853 +1.403s 226.256 km/h
9 1 United Kingdom Damon Hill United Kingdom Arrows-Yamaha 1:50.970 +1.520s 226.018 km/h
10 10 United Kingdom David Coulthard United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 1:51.410 +1.960s 225.125 km/h
11 16 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Switzerland Sauber-Petronas 1:51.725 +2.275s 224.490 km/h
12 22 Brazil Rubens Barrichello United Kingdom Stewart-Ford Cosworth 1:51.916 +2.466s 224.107 km/h
13 17 Italy Gianni Morbidelli Switzerland Sauber-Petronas 1:52.094 +2.644s 223.751 km/h
14 14 Italy Jarno Trulli France Prost-Mugen-Honda 1:52.274 +2.824s 223.393 km/h
15 8 Austria Gerhard Berger Italy Benetton-Renault 1:52.391 +2.941s 223.160 km/h
16 15 Japan Shinji Nakano France Prost-Mugen-Honda 1:52.749 +3.299s 222.452 km/h
17 6 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Italy Ferrari 1:52.793 +3.343s 222.365 km/h
18 23 Denmark Jan Magnussen United Kingdom Stewart-Ford Cosworth 1:52.886 +3.436s 222.182 km/h
19 19 Finland Mika Salo United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:52.897 +3.447s 222.160 km/h
20 20 Japan Ukyo Katayama Italy Minardi-Hart 1:53.544 +4.094s 220.894 km/h
21 18 Netherlands Jos Verstappen United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:53.725 +4.275s 220.543 km/h
22 21 Brazil Tarso Marques Italy Minardi-Hart 1:54.505 +5.055s 219.040 km/h
107% Time: 1:57.112[3]
Source:[4][3]
  • 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.

GridEdit

Pos Pos
Driver Driver
______________
Row 1 ______________ 1
2 Jacques Villeneuve
Jean Alesi ______________
Row 2 ______________ 3
4 Michael Schumacher
Giancarlo Fisichella ______________
Row 3 ______________ 5
6 Mika Häkkinen
Ralf Schumacher* ______________
Row 4 ______________ 7
8 Heinz-Harald Frentzen
Pedro Diniz ______________
Row 5 ______________ 9
10 Damon Hill
David Coulthard ______________
Row 6 ______________ 11
12 Gianni Morbidelli
Jarno Trulli* ______________
Row 7 ______________ 13
14 Gerhard Berger
Shinji Nakano ______________
Row 8 ______________ 15
16 Eddie Irvine
Jan Magnussen ______________
Row 9 ______________ 17
18 Mika Salo
Ukyo Katayama ______________
Row 10 ______________ 19
20 Jos Verstappen
Tarso Marques ______________
  • * Ralf Schumacher and Trulli would start from the pitlane.[3]

RaceEdit

ReportEdit

ResultsEdit

The full results for the 1997 Belgian Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 5 Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Ferrari 44 1:33:46.717 3 10
2 12 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Ireland Jordan-Peugeot 44 +26.753s 4 6
3 4 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen United Kingdom Williams-Renault 44 +32.147s 7 4
4 16 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Switzerland Sauber-Petronas 44 +39.025s 11 3
5 3 Canada Jacques Villeneuve United Kingdom Williams-Renault 44 +42.103s 1 2
6 8 Austria Gerhard Berger Italy Benetton-Renault 44 +1:03.741 15 1
7 2 Brazil Pedro Diniz United Kingdom Arrows-Yamaha 44 +1:25.931 8
8 7 France Jean Alesi Italy Benetton-Renault 44 +1:42.008 2
9 17 Italy Gianni Morbidelli Switzerland Sauber-Petronas 44 +1:42.582 13
10* 6 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Italy Ferrari 43 Collision 17
11 19 Finland Mika Salo United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 43 +1 Lap 19
12 23 Denmark Jan Magnussen United Kingdom Stewart-Ford Cosworth 43 +1 Lap 18
13* 1 United Kingdom Damon Hill United Kingdom Arrows-Yamaha 42 Wheel nut 9
14* 20 Japan Ukyo Katayama Italy Minardi-Hart 42 Engine 20
15 14 Italy Jarno Trulli France Prost-Mugen-Honda 42 +2 Laps 14
DSQ 9 Finland Mika Häkkinen United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 44 Disqualified 5
Ret 18 Netherlands Jos Verstappen United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 25 Spin 21
Ret 11 Germany Ralf Schumacher Ireland Jordan-Peugeot 21 Spin 6
Ret 10 United Kingdom David Coulthard United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 19 Spin 10
Ret 21 Brazil Tarso Marques Italy Minardi-Hart 18 Spin 22
Ret 22 Brazil Rubens Barrichello United Kingdom Stewart-Ford Cosworth 8 Steering 12
Ret 15 Japan Shinji Nakano France Prost-Mugen-Honda 5 Electrical 16
Source:[5]
  • T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
  • * Irvine, Hill and Katayama were all still classified despite retiring as they had completed 90% of the race distance.[5]
  • Häkkinen was disqualified due to submitting an illegal fuel sample.[5]

MilestonesEdit

StandingsEdit

Michael Schumacher moved eleven points clear atop the Championship after his fourth win of the campaign, leaving Belgium with 66 points. Jacques Villeneuve had therefore lost ground, and was now more than a win behind, with the Canadian ace remaining the only major pretender to Schumacher with five rounds to go. Heinz-Harald Frentzen, meanwhile, had moved into third, with just two points covering the German, Jean Alesi and fifth placed Gerhard Berger.

In the Constructors Championship it was Ferrari who had won the day, eking out their lead to six points at the head of the hunt. Williams-Renault had, however, effectively kept pace wit their Italian rivals, with Benetton-Renault having lost ground to both in third. They were, however, in a now secure third place, nineteen ahead of McLaren-Mercedes in fourth.

World Championship for Drivers
Pos. Driver Pts. +/-
1 Germany Michael Schumacher 66
2 Canada Jacques Villeneuve 55
3 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen 23 ▲2
4 France Jean Alesi 22 ▼1
5 Austria Gerhard Berger 21 ▼1
6 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine 18
7 France Olivier Panis 15
8 United Kingdom David Coulthard 14
9 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella 14 ▲3
10 Finland Mika Häkkinen 14 ▼1
11 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert 14 ▼1
12 Germany Ralf Schumacher 11 ▼1
13 United Kingdom Damon Hill 7
14 Brazil Rubens Barrichello 6
15 Austria Alexander Wurz 4
16 Italy Jarno Trulli 3
17 Finland Mika Salo 2
18 Japan Shinji Nakano 2
19 Italy Nicola Larini 1
World Championship for Constructors
Pos. Team Pts. +/-
1 Italy Ferrari 84
2 United Kingdom Williams-Renault 78
3 Italy Benetton-Renault 47
4 United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 28
5 Ireland Jordan-Peugeot 25 ▲1
6 France Prost-Mugen-Honda 20 ▼1
7 Switzerland Sauber-Petronas 15
8 United Kingdom Arrows-Yamaha 7
9 United Kingdom Stewart-Ford Cosworth 6
10 United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 2

Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.

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 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 'Belgian GP, 1997', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), https://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr609.html, (Accessed 23/08/2019)
  2. 'Belgium 1997: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1997/belgique/engages.aspx, (Accessed 23/08/2019)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 'Belgium 1997: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1997/belgique/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 23/08/2019)
  4. '1997 Belgian Grand Prix - QUALIFYING', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1997/races/665/belgium/qualifying-0.html, (Accessed 23/08/2019)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 'Belgium 1997: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1997/belgique/classement.aspx, (Accessed 23/08/2019)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 '12. Belgium 1997', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1997/belgique.aspx, (Accessed 23/08/2019)
  7. 7.0 7.1 '1997 Belgian GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1997&gp=Belgian%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 23/08/2019)
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
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Pre-1950 races 1925 • 1930 • 1931 • 1933 • 1934 • 1935 • 1937 • 1939 • 1946 • 1947 • 1949
V T E 1997 Formula One Season
Teams Arrows • Williams • Ferrari • Benetton • McLaren • Jordan • Prost • Sauber • Tyrrell • Minardi • Stewart • Lola
Engines Ferrari • Ford • Hart • Mercedes • Mugen-Honda • Petronas • Peugeot • Renault • Yamaha
Drivers Hill • 2 Diniz • 3 Villeneuve • 4 Frentzen • 5 M. Schumacher • 6 Irvine • 7 Alesi • 8 Berger • 8 Wurz • 9 Häkkinen • 10 Coulthard • 11 R. Schumacher • 12 Fisichella • 14 Panis • 14 Trulli • 15 Nakano • 16 Herbert • 17 Larini • 17 Morbidelli • 17 Fontana • 18 Verstappen • 19 Salo • 20 Katayama • 21 Trulli • 21 Marques • 22 Barrichello • 23 Magnussen • 24 Sospiri • 25 Rosset
Other Drivers Badoer • Brundle • Montermini • Montoya • Takagi • Tuero
Cars Williams FW19 • Ferrari F310B • Benetton B197 • McLaren MP4/12 • Jordan 197 • Prost JS45 • Sauber C16 • Arrows A18 • Stewart SF01 • Tyrrell 025 • Minardi M197 • Lola T97/30
Tyres Goodyear • Bridgestone
Races Australia • Brazil • Argentina • San Marino • Monaco • Spain • Canada • France • Britain • Germany • Hungary • Belgium • Italy • Austria • Luxembourg • Japan • Europe
See also 1996 Formula One Season • 1998 Formula One Season • Category
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