Belgian GP 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.

There was much rejoicing at Benetton at Schumacher's first F1 victory but the Williams drivers were less than joyous, despite the fact that the team had wrapped up the Constructors' title.

19 Michael Schumacher Benetton-Cosworth  44 1h36m10.721s  
Nigel Mansell Williams-Renault  44 1h36m47.316s  
Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault  44 1h36m54.618s  
20 Martin Brundle Benetton-Cosworth  44 1h37m56.780s  
Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda  44 1h37m19.090s  
11 Mika Hakkinen Lotus-Cosworth  44 1h37m20.751s  
21 JJ Lehto Dallara-Ferrari  44 1h37m48.958s  16 
Andrea de Cesaris Tyrrell-Ilmor  43  13 
19 Michael Schumacher Benetton-Cosworth  43  25 
10 14 Eric van de Poele Fondmetal-Cosworth  43  15 
11 16 Karl Wendlinger March-Ilmor  43  18 
12 17 Paul Belmondo March-Ilmor  43  21 
13r 12 Johnny Herbert Lotus-Cosworth  42 Engine 10 
14 33 Mauricio Gugelmin Jordan-Yamaha  42  24 
15 32 Stefano Modena Jordan-Yamaha  42  17 
16 24 Gianni Morbidelli Minardi-Lamborghini  42  23 
17 30 Ukyo Katayama Venturi Larrousse-Lamborghini  42  26 
18r 29 Bertrand Gachot Venturi Larrousse-Lamborghini  40 Spin 20 
25 Thierry Boutsen Ligier-Renault  27 Accident 
28 Ivan Capelli Ferrari  25 Engine 12 
15 Gabriele Tarquini Fondmetal-Cosworth  25 Engine 11 
Michele Alboreto Footwork-Mugen Honda  20 Gearbox 14 
27 Jean Alesi Ferrari  Spin 
Olivier Grouillard Tyrrell-Ilmor  Accident 22 
22 Pierluigi Martini Dallara-Ferrari  Spin 19 
Gerhard Berger McLaren-Honda  Tranmission 
nq 23 Christian Fittipaldi Minardi-Lamborghini    27 
nq 34 Roberto Moreno Andrea Moda-Judd    28 
nq 35 Perry McCarthy Andrea Moda-Judd    29 
nq 26 Erik Comas Ligier-Renault   Accident 30