• Belgian Grand Prix 1955

Mercedes eclipses rivals at Spa

Martin Williamson June 5, 1955
Eugenio Castellotti comes over the top of Radillon in his borrowed Lancia © Getty Images

The Formula One roadshow assembled at Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix still digesting the news of Alberto Ascari's death. His team, Lancia, decided to close its team immediately, only three grands prix after the launch of its new D50, and Juan Manuel Fangio extended his lead in the drivers' championship with an emphatic win.

There was, however, one Lancia on the grid, loaned to Eugenio Castellotti, and he set the fastest time in practice. As it was, the Mercedes of Fangio and Stirling Moss roared clear from the off and were never challenged on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Castellotti was an early retirement with gearbox failure as was Mike Hawthorn, driving briefly for Vanwall. On the third lap Jean Behra lost control of his Ferrari and was forced to walk back to the pits where Roberto Mieres was called in and surrendered his car.

Fangio took the win 8.6 seconds in front of his team-mate who in turn was more than a minute and a half clear of third-placed Nino Farina. Belgian journalist-racer Paul Frere, driving a Ferrari, came home in fourth.

The tragedy at Le Mans six days later was to have a massive impact on not only the season, but the sport for years to come.

Martin Williamson is managing editor of digital media ESPN EMEA

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Martin Williamson is managing editor of digital media ESPN EMEA Martin Williamson, who grew up in the era of James Hunt, Niki Lauda and sideburns, became managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group in 2007 after spells with Sky Sports, Sportal and Cricinfo