Remembering Spa 1985

Originally scheduled for June but cancelled after the track surface broke up during practice, the F1 circus returned to a resurfaced Spa in September for the rescheduled race. Tyrrell driver Stefan Bellof had been killed here just a little over two weeks earlier in a tragic Group C sportscar accident and Jonathan Palmer had crashed on the Friday practice for the same event and was out for the rest of the year with a broken leg.

The Grand Prix weekend got off to a shaky start when Niki Lauda crashed his McLaren in 1st Free Practice injuring his wrist. He flew back home to Vienna later that day and took no further part in the weekend. Team mate Prost had qualified his McLaren on pole and was heading the championship table with just three races to go. Michele Alboreto was the only man who could challenge mathematically, but he was 12 whole points behind. Despite being in only his second year of Formula 1, Ayrton Senna was on the front row alongside Prost, missing out on his 6th pole of the season by less than a tenth of a second.

On race day morning, the heavens opened and wet the track, but by the time the race had started, sun had begun poking through the cloud and the track was drying. Senna got a great start and moved ahead of Prost, taking La Source all on his own with the rest of the field behind. Piquet managed to do a full 360 in front of the field on the exit of the hairpin and somehow no one hit him. The Pirelli wets produced very little grip compared to the Goodyears and Piquet himself had said it was like driving on ice.

Senna dominated the Belgian race

Senna began pulling away from the field and Alboreto went off the road somewhere dropping from 4th to 10th. Within a few laps, Mansell was hassling Prost for 2nd allowing Senna to further get away. Mansell used the greater power of his Honda engine and passed Prost with sparks flying at the end of the long straight at Les Combes.

On Lap 5, Rosberg pitted for wet tyres to prove to everyone the track was dry enough. Meanwhile, Piquet had also pitted for slicks and Rosberg was the fastest man on the track. Despite this, the leaders opted to stay out on and darted left and right trying to find puddles to cool their tyres. Then came the news that Alboreto had retired round the back of the circuit, handing Prost his first world championship.

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