On 18th June 1961, the Belgian Grand Prix was held at Spa-Francorchamps. It was race 3 of 8 in both the 1961 World Championship of Drivers and the 1961 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers.
Scuderia Ferrari turned up with three 156 F1 for the Americans, Phil Hill and Richie Ginther and the German Wolfgang Von Trips. Apart from these three, there was also a fourth yellow car entered by the Ecurie Nationale Belge, for local hero Olivier Gendebien.
In qualifying, Ferrari proved to be the dominant force in the championship, making a clean sweep of the top three places, thus securing the entire front row. Phil Hill took pole, covering the 14.1 kilometre track in 3.59.3, the only man to get under the 4 minute barrier, beating Wolfgang Von Trips by 8 tenths and Olivier Gendebien by 3.7. Richie Ginther was fifth behind the Cooper of John Surtees, 6.7 behind Hill.
In the race, the other teams didn’t get a look-in. The fight was between the quartet of Ferraris, which in the early stages passed one another repeatedly, with Hill coming off best in the end, to take the second win of his career, Ferrari’s 32nd. Next up was Von Trips, 7 tenths down and Ginther at 19.5. Rounding off a pretty much perfect race for Ferrari, Gendebien ensured the marque took the top four places.
— see video above —
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