Belgian GP 1992
AUGUST 30, 1992
Belgian GP, 1992
March decided that it was time to replace Paul Belmondo and Emanuele Naspetti was drafted in thanks to his backing from Uliveto. In addition Christian Fittipaldi was back in action having recovered from the cracked vertebrae he had suffered at the French GP. This left Alex Zanardi out of a drive again. There was some amusement in the paddock when the police arrived and arrested Andrea Sassetti of the Andrea Moda Formula team.
The field was reduced to 29 cars on Friday when Ligier's Erik Comas had an enormous accident at the high-speed Blanchimont corner, knocking himself unconscious for 17 minutes. He took no further part in activities. As it turned out the qualifying was done on Friday because Saturday was ruined by rain. This did not stop several drivers doing wet weather running and this resulted in two more huge accidents: Gerhard Berger demolishing his McLaren when it aquaplaned off at Eau Rouge and Pierluigi Martini doing a similar job on his Dallara-Ferrari a few minutes later, again without seriously hurting himself.
The grid was rather different to normal with World Champion Nigel Mansell on pole position but Ayrton Senna second in his McLaren-Honda and Michael Schumacher third in his Benetton. Mansell's team mate, Riccardo Patrese, who was usually in second, was a disappointed fourth in his Williams while Gerhard Berger was sixth behind Jean Alesi, who had two revised Ferrari F92ATs. Ivan Capelli had to make do with one of the older cars and so was 12th. Thierry Boutsen kept up Ligier hopes with seventh on the grid ahead of Mika Hakkinen's Lotus and Martin Brundle's Benetton while Johnny Herbert completed the top 10 in the second Lotus. Gabriele Tarquini again impressed in the Fondmetal, setting the 11th fastest time.
At the start Senna took the lead from Mansell and Patrese while Berger's McLaren suffered a clutch failure and caused some excitement as everyone tried to get past. Mansell allowed Senna to remain ahead for a lap and a half and then he took the lead at Blanchimont. By then rain was falling and so Mansell pitted for wet tires and the lead passed to Patrese who had passed Senna. When Riccardo pitted Senna went ahead gambling that the rain would stop. It did not and eventually Senna pitted for wets and dropped right down the order. This left Mansell leading Patrese with Schumacher third ahead of Brundle, Hakkinen and then a huge gap back to the rest. The track was beginning to dry and soon it was time to switch to slick tyres. On lap 30 Schumacher went off at Stavelot and decided to stop immediately. The Williams team did not react and lost out and when everyone was on slicks, Schumacher was ahead with Mansell second, Patrese third and Brundle ahead of Hakkinen and Senna. Mansell closed quickly on Schumacher but then his Williams broke an exhaust and he began to drop back. Patrese had a similar problem but was still able to keep Brundle behind him, while Senna's late race charge took him ahead of Hakkinen.
|8||4||Andrea de Cesaris||Tyrrell-Ilmor||43||13|
|10||14||Eric van de Poele||Fondmetal-Cosworth||43||15|
|17||30||Ukyo Katayama||Venturi Larrousse-Lamborghini||42||26|
|18r||29||Bertrand Gachot||Venturi Larrousse-Lamborghini||40||Spin||20|
|r||9||Michele Alboreto||Footwork-Mugen Honda||20||Gearbox||14|
|nq||34||Roberto Moreno||Andrea Moda-Judd||28|
|nq||35||Perry McCarthy||Andrea Moda-Judd||29|