Circuit de Spa Francorchamps is one of Formula 1’s most iconic and historic circuits. Here are all the facts and statistics you need to know about the circuit ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix!
SPA RACE WINNERS
Since 1950, 54 Belgian Grands Prix have been held at the Spa Francorchamps circuit. In that time, 28 different drivers have won a race at the track.
Michael Schumacher has the most wins at the circuit, with six in total. Ferrari are the most successful team at the track, with fourteen wins; two ahead of McLaren. Ferrari-engined cars have also taken the most wins here, with fourteen compared to eleven Mercedes-powered victories. British drivers have won here more often than drivers from any other nation, having stood on the top step seventeen times.
Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark, Ayrton Senna, Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen are the seven drivers who have taken back-to-back victories at the track. Schumacher is the only driver to have taken consecutive victories on multiple occasions, having done so in 1995, 1996 and 1997 and then again in 2001 and 2002.
Jim Clark and Ayrton Senna share the record for the most consecutive victories here, with four. Clark won in every season between 1962 and 1965, while Senna won every year from 1988 to 1991. Their wins also mean that Lotus and McLaren share the record for most consecutive team wins at the track.
There have been seventeen occasions on which a team has recorded a 1-2 finish at Spa Francorchamps. Ferrari and McLaren are tied for most 1-2 finishes at the track, with five each. The most recent 1-2 finish here was for Mercedes in 2020.
There are six previous winners of the Belgian Grand Prix on the current grid. Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton have each won at Spa four times, Sebastian Vettel has taken three victories here and Daniel Ricciardo recorded his only Belgian Grand Prix victory so far in 2014. Charles Leclerc became the 27th different winner at the circuit by taking his maiden win at the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix, while Max Verstappen became the track’s 28th winner in 2021.
The longest streak of different winners at this track came between 1965 and 1986, when there were no repeat victors in the eight races held at the track during the period.
The Belgian Grand Prix at Spa has been won by less than ten seconds on 24 occasions, by less than five seconds on 20 occasions and by less than a second on four occasions, most recently in 2019. Thirteen of the last 22 Belgian Grands Prix have been won by less than five seconds.
The smallest win margin at Spa came back in 1961, when Phil Hill took victory by finishing just 0.7 seconds ahead of Wolfgang von Trips. The largest win margin seen at the track followed two years later, as Jim Clark won by a colossal 474 seconds.
Overall, the average win margin at Spa Francorchamps is 33.510 seconds. From the last ten Belgian Grands Prix, the average win margin is 7.489 seconds.
ON THE PODIUM AT SPA
73 different drivers have stood on the podium after a Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps.
In 2021, Lewis Hamilton set a new outright record for most podiums at the track, recording his tenth top three finish. Ferrari are the team with the most podium finishes here, with 39 in total. Meanwhile, it’s British drivers who lead the way in terms of most podiums for a nationality at Spa. British drivers have had 40 top three finishes at the track.
From the current grid, there are nine drivers who have previously finished on the Belgian Grand Prix podium. Lewis Hamilton has the most of the current field with ten, Sebastian Vettel has had six top three finishes at the track, Kimi Raikkonen has had five, while Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen each have three. Charles Leclerc’s 2019 win is his only podium appearance so far at Spa, while George Russell recorded his maiden podium result at the track in 2021.
The polesitter has gone on to finish on the podium at this circuit on 35 occasions, including in every season since 2007.
The furthest back a podium finish at Spa has come from is 21st. Lewis Hamilton completed this feat in 2016. Having started near the back due to multiple engine penalties, Hamilton fought back to a third place finishing position in the Grand Prix.
There have been seven races at the track where all of the top three on the grid have gone on to finish the Grand Prix on the podium. It has happened in 1990, 1993, 1999, 2007, 2010, 2020 and 2021. 2007, 2020 and 2021 are the only times where the top three finished in the order in which they started.
There have only been three occasions on which none of the top three qualifiers have gone on to finish on the podium after a race at this track. It happened in 1986, 1987 and most recently in 1995.
POLESITTERS AT SPA
From the 54 races here, there have been 33 different polesitters. Lewis Hamilton has taken the most pole positions at Spa, with six. McLaren are the team with the most starts from the front, having taken pole on eleven occasions. British drivers have more poles than any other nation here, with Graham Hill, Nigel Mansell, Mike Hawthorn, John Surtees, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button taking sixteen poles between them.
There are four previous Belgian Grand Prix polesitters on the current grid. Aside from Lewis Hamilton’s record tally of six, Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen have each started from pole here once.
Juan Manuel Fangio, Graham Hill, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Jacques Villeneuve, Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton are the seven drivers who’ve taken back-to-back poles at Spa Francorchamps. Senna and Hakkinen are the only drivers to have taken more than two consecutive poles at the track. Senna has the record for the most consecutive poles at the circuit, having set the Saturday pace in every season between 1988 and 1991 (all races which he went on to win).
Mercedes hold the record for most consecutive team poles at the track, with six in a row between 2013 and 2018. The streak was ended by Ferrari in 2019.
The longest streak of different polesitters at the circuit came between 2002 and 2012. There were no repeat polesitters in the nine events held during that period.
The largest gap between the slowest and fastest cars in a qualifying session at Spa is 165.5 seconds. That happened in 1962, when polesitter Graham Hill was almost three minutes quicker than Dan Gurney. Gurney’s car was not ready to be raced at full speed, so he lapped the circuit slowly, eventually deciding not to start the race. The smallest qualifying spread at Spa came in 2008, when just 2.41 separated Lewis Hamilton’s fastest Q2 time from the time which saw Giancarlo Fisichella line up twentieth on the grid.
Pole has been decided by less than a tenth of a second on six occasions at Spa Francorchamps, including five times in the six races at the track between 2004 and 2010. 2010 is the last time pole was decided by less than a tenth here.
The largest pole margin at Spa is 4.9 seconds, which is the amount of time Juan Manuel Fangio lapped the circuit faster than anyone else in 1956. The smallest pole margin here is 0.011 seconds, the margin by which Alain Prost took pole in 1983.
From the last ten races at the track, the average pole margin for the Belgian Grand Prix is 0.387 seconds.
SATURDAY TO SUNDAY
The Belgian Grand Prix at Spa has been won from pole on 21 occasions. It has been won from the front row of the grid 35 times, meaning nineteen wins have come from third or lower on the grid. All but two of the last sixteen races here have been won from the front row of the grid.
The furthest back win at the circuit came in 1995, when Michael Schumacher won from sixteenth on the grid.
There have been thirteen occasions on which the polesitter has finished on the podium at Spa without winning the Grand Prix.
In total, 1,191 cars have been entered into World Championship races at Spa. Of those, 1,144 cars have qualified for races and 1,125 have started the race. Of those 1,125 cars, 685 have reached the chequered flag. That gives a finish rate of just under 61%.
From the 54 races held at the track, 62 first lap retirements have been recorded. The most recent was for Max Verstappen in 2019. The most cars eliminated on the opening lap here is seven, which happened in 1998.
Aside from the rain-hit 2021 race – in which all 20 cars completed the single lap which counted towards the final result – the highest number of drivers to complete all the laps of a race at Spa is seventeen, which happened in 2020. Meanwhile, the fewest number of un-lapped drivers in a Belgian Grand Prix at this track is two, which has happened seven times, most recently in 1987.
The Safety Car has featured in twelve of the last seventeen Belgian Grands Prix, and has appeared in every year since 2016. The most number of outings for the Safety Car in a race at this track is three, which happened in 2004.
Six F1 races at Spa have been red-flagged. The 1987, 1990, 1998, 2001, 2016 and 2021 Belgian Grands Prix all featured red flag periods.
The 2015 and 2021 Belgian Grands Prix are the only races at Spa which did not reach its scheduled distance. A loss of power for Nico Hulkenberg at the end of the formation lap in 2015 meant that the original start was aborted and another formation lap commenced. As a result, the race distance was shortened from 44 laps to 43 laps. Meanwhile, heavy rain saw the 2021 event called off, with just a handful of laps completed under Safety Car conditions.
Spa and the surrounding Ardennes Forest area is notorious for its micro-climate. Sixteen races here have been affected by rain.
34 different drivers have set the fastest lap of a race at Spa Francorchamps. Alain Prost is the driver with the most fastest laps here, having set the fastest lap of the Grand Prix six times. The count of 34 includes Nikita Mazepin, who was not officially credited with the Fastest Lap in 2021.
There have been 2,105 Grand Prix racing laps held so far at the Spa Francorchamps circuit.
Michael Schumacher’s seventh and final World Championship victory came here in 2004. It’s the only time a World Champion has been crowned at the track.
There have been four occasions on which the Constructors’ Championship has been decided at Spa. McLaren won the title here in 1988, Williams secured victory in 1992 and 1993, while Ferrari are the most recent team to win the championship here, in 2007.
The 2001 and 2002 Belgian Grands Prix are the only dead rubber F1 races which have been held at Spa Francorchamps. In addition, the Drivers’ Championship was already decided before the Belgian Grand Prix in 1992, while the Constructors’ Championship was decided prior to the event in 1996 and 2004.
The winner of a Belgian Grand Prix at Spa has gone on to win the title in the same season on 21 occasions. It has happened only once in the last three years.
There have been 27 occasions on which the polesitter at Spa has gone on to win the title in the same year. It has happened five times in the last six years.
The leader of the Drivers’ Championship after a race at this track has gone on to win the title 33 times. The last driver to fail to do so was Sebastian Vettel in 2017. Meanwhile, the last time the leading team in the Constructors’ Championship after the Belgian Grand Prix failed to go on and win the title was in 2000, when McLaren failed to take that year’s honours.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. The blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations, Motorsport Guides and WTF1. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.