Phil Hill, the first American driver to win the Formula One World Championship, died in Salinas, California at the age of 81. Hill began driving for Ferrari in 1959 and claimed the first grand prix victory by an American driver in nearly forty years the following season. His biggest achievement, however, came in 1961 when he claimed the drivers' title in difficult circumstances. A crash during the Italian Grand Prix killed his team-mate Wolfgang von Trips and fifteen spectators and Hill went on to win the race and clinch the title. Ferrari's decision not to travel to America for the season's final round deprived Hill of the opportunity to participate in his home race at Watkins Glen as the newly-crowned World Champion. When he returned for the following season, his last with Ferrari, Hill said, "I no longer have as much need to race, to win. I don't have as much hunger anymore. I am no longer willing to risk killing myself."
Another Hill, Damon, won the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa from Mika Hakkinen and Jos Verstappen in controversial circumstances. Rubens Barrichello secured his first ever pole position in his Jordan-Hart but Michael Schumacher proved unstoppable on one of his favourite circuits, even surviving a spin on his way to victory. After the race, however, the scrutineers discovered that the wooden undertray of Schumacher's car had been worn away too much and so he was disqualified.
During his first season with the BAR team, Jacques Villeneuve demonstrated the same penchant for risk-taking as his father during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix. Villeneuve always attempted to take the daunting Eau Rouge flat out and destroyed his car on the famous corner. Team-mate Ricardo Zonta had an even bigger crash on the same corner and also walked away unscathed.
After Alex Zanardi lost both legs in a horrific Champ Car accident in 2001, few people thought he would ever return to racing but he proved everybody wrong when he triumphed in a World Touring Car Championship event in Germany driving a specially modernised BMW.
Williams driver Valtteri Bottas was born in Nastola, Finland. Having won the GP3 championship at the age of 22 Bottas was elevated in to a reserve driver role at Williams before his debut season in 2013 and marked out his potential with an impressive third place in qualifying in Canada.
After overtaking team-mate Alain Prost up the hill through Eau Rouge, Ayrton Senna went on to win the Belgian Grand Prix. Prost went on to finish second from the Benetton's of Thierry Boutsen and Alessandro Nannini.
Rene Arnoux won the Dutch Grand Prix from Ferrari team-mate Patrick Tambay and John Watson. Nelson Piquet had qualified on pole but was punted off when collided with Alain Prost in the battle for the lead.