Here is Ferrari driver Mike Hawthorn with his 246F1 turning into the La Source hairpin at the top of the long high speed Spa-Francorchamps public road circuit during the Belgian Grand Prix on June 15, 1958. At this time the start/finish line was around La Source and about half the way down the hill to Eau Rouge. The climbing right at Eau Rouge, followed by the wide open left through Raidillon can be seen in the background. Today, the start/finish line has been moved back about 200 meters behind Hawthorn’s car and well before La Source. Eau Rouge, so-called because of the iron colored waters running under a bridge below the circuit, was first created in 1939 to increase speeds, although Grand Prix racing had commenced at Spa in 1925. The road seen above the Eau Rouge-Raidillon section in this image is that of the original layout which had turned sharp left at the Eau Rouge bridge and then climbed through a slow right hand corner after an area called Ancienne Douane, because it had been the site of a former German customs post.
The start of this race had been delayed an extra minute by trouble starting one of the Maseratis combined with a somewhat confused official starter which caused several cars to overheat while waiting in the warm weather. This resulted in a series of early retirements, including Peter Collins (Ferrari 246F1), Graham Hill (Lotus 12), Jean Behra (BRM 25) and Masten Gregory (Maserati 250F). The actual starting grid and been strangely modified at Hawthorn’s request, he being the fastest qualifier, as he wished the pole to be positioned on the right hand side of the road which resulted in the front row being reversed, but left the rest of the grid unchanged with the fastest car in the second and subsequent rows being on the left.
The finish was equally bizarre as Tony Brooks, then leading with his Vanwall, lost his gearbox as he rounded La Source on the final lap but still won and Hawthorn, not so far behind him, having set a new lap record, had his engine fail as he crossed the finish line. Stuart Lewis-Evans then took third with a Vanwall, but his suspension had collapsed as he rounded La Source. All this proof of the old adage that a properly-designed Grand Prix car should just make it to the finish and no farther.
Hawthorn would win the 1958 World Championship, having won just one race with Stirling Moss behind him by only a single point, Moss having won twice during the year.
Photo by Günther Molter ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
To see more photos from our archive go to: http://www.klemcoll.com/TheGallery.aspx