Emerson Fittipaldi, the Brazilian revelation of the 1972 season, won the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix at Nivelles on Sunday (4 June) and moved into a commanding lead in the world drivers' championship.
Emerson Fittipaldi, the Brazilian revelation of the 1972 season, won the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix at Nivelles on Sunday (4 June) and moved into a commanding lead in the world drivers' championship. The 25-year-old Fittipaldi, from Sao Paulo, drove his John Player Special Lotus, number 32, in top fashion to head the field from the sixth lap.
Sunday's victory, Fittipaldi's second grand prix success this season, gave him 28 points in the drivers' championship--nine ahead of his nearest rival, former champion Denny Hulme of New Zealand. The Brazilian's time was just over I hour and 44 minutes with an average speed of 113,535 miles per hour (182.423 k.p.h.)
Second place in the 85-lap race went to Frenchman Francois Cevert in the lone Tyrrell Ford, numbered 8. The event marked the first on the new Nivelle circuit.
Fittipaldi was in pole position at the start of the 196.7 mile--(316.54 km) race, and soon passed Switzerland's Clay Begazzoni and Belgian champion Jackei Ickx, both of whom were later to drop out. Regazzoni crashed in the 57th lap but wasn't injured.
New Zealander Denny Hulme finally moved into third place in a McLaren, after rivals Regazzoni and New Zealand's Chris Amon--who had to make a pit stop which cost him the position--left the race.
Only 14 of the 25 starters were classified as finishers and Fittipaldi lapped all but three of them.
SYNOPSIS: Twenty-five drivers made final preparations before the start of the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix at Nivelles on Sunday. Among them were Britain's Graham Hill and Belgian champion Jackie Iokx.
Frenchman Jean-Pierre Beltoise also got ready.
Brazil's Emerson Fittipaldi was among the starters.
And so was France's Francois Cevert.
The crowd prepared, too.
Fittipaldi was in pole position when the flag dropped. The 85-lap race marked the first event for the new Nivelle circuit.
By the sixth lap, Fittipaldi had passed Switzerland's Clay Regazzoni and Jackie Ickx. They were both to drop out later--Regazzoni because of a crash which didn't hurt the Swiss driver but ended the race for him.
If the 25-year-old Fittipaldi could win the race, it would be his second grand prix success of the season and it would put him in a commanding position at the top of the world drivers' championship. As it was, he was ahead of all of his rivals as the race continued. The nearly 197 miles were taking their toll.
And soon, there wasn't much doubt. By the end, only 14 starters were classified as finishers, and Fittipaldi had lapped all but three of them.
Fittipaldi won with an average speed of almost 114 miles and hour, and Cevert came second.