Formula One Betting: Great winners on F1’s greatest track

F1’s longer-than-usual summer break finally comes to an end next week. And what a race we have in prospect as F1 heads to what is surely the greatest racing track on the calendar.

Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium is one of the grand old circuits of Formula One. Along with Silverstone, Monte-Carlo and Monza it is one of few tracks which featured in the first ever world championship in 1950.

Back then the 14.1km (8.7 miles) track was one of the most feared venues. Its fast corners were bordered by trees and houses, and many drivers who lost control of their cars were killed.

When the speeds and danger got out of control, Spa went missing for over a decade. But it made a long-awaited return in 1983, reduced in length and much safer but retaining much of its high-speed character.

Today Spa is the longest Grand Prix track on the calendar, with a 7km (4.5-mile) lap. It remains one of the most awe-inspiring circuits to watch F1 cars as they tackle dauntingly fast curves with names that inspire any dedicated fan: Eau Rouge, Pouhon, Stavelot and Blanchimont.

The list of those who have won multiple times at this circuit reads as a roll-call of the greats:

Juan Manuel Fangio

Wins at Spa: 3

“The Maestro” scored a hat-trick of wins on the daunting old Spa course, each with a different manufacturer: Alfa-Romeo, Maserati and Mercedes.

Alberto Ascari

Wins at Spa: 2

Ascari topped an all-Ferrari podium in the 1952 race. He went on to win every world championship race he entered between it and the next Belgian Grand Prix the following year, a feat of dominance that has never been matched.

Jim Clark

Wins at Spa: 4

Clark famously loathed Spa after witnessing the horrific crashes which killed Chris Bristow and Alan Stacey in 1960. But he dominated at the track later on, scoring four consecutive wins from 1962 to 1965.

The absence of Spa from the calendar for much of the seventies and early eighties goes some way towards explaining why Clark’s fellow multiple champions Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda never won at the circuit.

Alain Prost

Wins at Spa: 2

Prost won the first race at the revised Spa circuit in 1983. He added a second four years later after Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna collided while disputing the lead.

Ayrton Senna

Wins at Spa: 5

Senna’s 1985 and 1989 triumphs showcased his wet-weather genius. Three further wins at the Ardennes track means only one driver has won more races there than Senna.

Curiously, fellow Brazilian thrice-champion Nelson Piquet never won at the track in his eight races there.

Damon Hill 

Wins at Spa: 3

Surprised to see Hill on this list? He’s something of an underrated champion but he still has a trio of wins here to his name. They include his emotional final win in 1998, the first for Eddie Jordan’s team.

Michael Schumacher

Wins at Spa: 6

Schumacher’s record tally of six wins would be higher had he not been disqualified in 1994 for a technical infringement (Hill won). He scored his first win at Spa in 1992, won from 16th on the grid in 1995 and clinched his final world title there in 2004.

The odds on him scoring a seventh win are 40.0.

Kimi Raikkonen

Wins at Spa: 4

The rival to Schumacher’s status as the master of Spa. Had he not crashed out while battling Lewis Hamilton in 2008 he would have won every race from 2004 to 2009 (there was no race in 2006). Raikkonen is third favourite to win this year – his odds stand at 6.5.

Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic