Belgian GP 1968

Belgian GP, 1968

The appearance of wings on the Lotus at Monaco did not go unnoticed and for the Belgian GP various teams arrived with experimental wings on the cars. Ferrari was back in action having missed Monaco and entered two cars for Chris Amon and Jacky Ickx. Jackie Stewart was back in action for Matra International and Lucien Bianchi stayed with the Cooper-BRM team, replacing Lodovico Scarfiotti, as the Italian was committed to racing in the European Hillclimb Championship event at Rossfeld in southern Germany. Dan Gurney and Denny Hulme had flown back from Indianapolis having finished second and fourth in the race.

Amon was fastest in practice on Friday with Stewart and Ickx alongside him on the front row. Then came John Surtees in the Honda and Hulme with Bruce McLaren, Piers Courage (Reg Parnell Racing BRM) and Pedro Rodriguez (BRM) sharing the third row. Both Lotus drivers had trouble and were on the penultimate row of the grid. Saturday was completely ruined by rain and by the news from Rossfeld that Scarfiotti had been killed - the third F1 driver to die that year.

Race day was dull and overcast and at the start Amon took the lead with Ickx, Surtees and Hulme chasing him. By the end of the second lap Surtees had taken the lead. There were a rash of retirements early on with Hill, Richard Attwood (BRM), Brabham and Rindt all going out with mechanical trouble. On the seventh lap Brian Redman (Cooper-BRM) went out when his suspension failed and he crashed into and over a concrete barrier and into a parked car. The Cooper caught fire but Redman escaped with only a broken right arm and a few minor burns. Soon afterwards Amon went out with a radiator problem and then the leader Surtees disappeared when his suspension failed. This left Hulme in the lead but he was quickly overtaken by Stewart and the two diced until Hulme slowed with a driveshaft problem. This left Stewart half a minute clear of McLaren but on the penultimate lap the Matra-Ford driver ran out of petrol and dropped behind McLaren, Rodriguez and Ickx.

Bruce McLaren McLaren-Cosworth M7A 28 1h40m02.100s  
11 Pedro Rodriguez BRM P133 28 1h40m14.200s  
23 Jacky Ickx Ferrari 312 28 1h40m41.400s  
Jackie Stewart Matra-Cosworth MS10 27  
5r Jackie Oliver Lotus-Cosworth 49B 26 Drive Shaft 15 
15 Lucien Bianchi Cooper-BRM T86B 26  12 
7r Jo Siffert Lotus-Cosworth 49 25 Engine 
10 Jean-Pierre Beltoise Matra MS11 25  13 
14 Piers Courage BRM P126 22 Engine 
Denny Hulme McLaren-Cosworth M7A 18 Drive Shaft 
20 John Surtees Honda RA301 11 Suspension 
22 Chris Amon Ferrari 312 Radiator 
12 Richard Attwood BRM P126 Mechanical 11 
18 Jack Brabham Brabham-Repco BT26 Throttle Slides 18 
16 Brian Redman Cooper-BRM T86B Accident 10 
19 Jochen Rindt Brabham-Repco BT26 Engine 17 
Graham Hill Lotus-Cosworth 49B Mechanical 14 
17 Jo Bonnier McLaren-BRM M5A Mechanical 16