There's a moment, just as you crest the rise after Spa's iconic Eau Rouge corner, where you can't see the other side.

It's terrifying, because you just have to aim for the exit and hope it's still there. Which in itself is crazy, because it hasn't moved for the last six laps and is guaranteed to be there this time. It doesn't stop you breathing a sigh of relief when you glimpse the red and yellow crash barriers that line the track.

I was driving the circuit for the first time, having tagged along to a Renaultsport track day with our long-term Clio RS200 Turbo. We'd caught the Eurotunnel the previous evening and driven through France and Belgium to reach the circuit in the Ardennes forest. 

Like many others, my only experience of Spa up until now had been either through watching Formula One on television, or lapping it virtually on a computer game. On screen, Eau Rouge looks like a slow rise up into the forest. A challenging corner, sure, but nothing more. The real thing is so vastly different. 

The corner known collectively as Eau Rouge is actually two. The left-hander at the bottom is Eau Rouge itself, but the exit leading up the hill is known as Raidillon. Formula One cars are said to take this flat-out at speeds of up to 186mph, which demands millimetre-perfect driving. Get it wrong, and the tyre walls and grass either side are there to greet you. Type 'Villeneuve' and 'Spa' into Youtube to discover what can happen.