It was a pivotal race in the history of F1 in terms of both the safety of the sport and sheer, demonstrable brilliance: more than half the field was eliminated on the opening lap of the 1966 Belgian GP when the track changed suddenly from dry to wet on the ultra-fast Burnenville-Masta section of Spa; and Jackie Stewart, trapped inside his banana-shaped BRM, with fuel leaking around him, from that day forward would began his campaign for greater safety, systematically improving equipment for the drivers and cars while influencing the way circuits would be laid-out and prepared.

On track, meanwhile, Ferrari's John Surtees that day duelled closely with Cooper-Maserati's Jochen Rindt - in the wet and then, later in the race, on a drying track. It was Surtees who won the battle - Surtees who would move the greatest of British journalists, Denis Jenkinson, to write, "by far the best part of the film 'Grand Prix' was the actual, overhead footage of Surtees on the Masta straight in the heavy rain.

He could be seen to be constantly feathering the steering as the Ferrari acquaplaned at 180mph - yet the car, as whole, seem to remain absolutely straight, perfectly stable..."

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