Sixty years ago at the Nurburgring
Fangio’s final swansong
On August 4th, 1957, the sixth race of the Formula 1 season was held at the Nürburgring, in Germany. This race is now remembered in motorsport history as a race full of landmark achievements – such as the final victory for a Maserati race car, and the first appearance for Porsche in a Grand Prix. But, the most memorable part of this race is the final triumph of Juan Manuel Fangio – and, above all, the way this race victory came about. The Argentine ace, driving the Maserati 250F, opted to start ‘agile and light’ with his fuel tank half-full – a decision that would give him the lead of the race by lap three. At the start, he had dropped from pole to third, trailing the Ferraris of Collins and Hawthorn. By the thirteenth lap, when he was leading Hawthorn and Collins by about thirty seconds, he pitted for fresh tyres and fuel – but had a disastrous pit stop. When he returned to the track, he was 48 seconds behind Collins in second place. From there, however, Fangio began an unparalleled spell of driving, a breath-taking pursuit that would see him set 9 lap records (including 7 on consecutive laps).
Finally, on the 21st turn of the penultimate lap, he overtook Collins and then, putting both the inside wheels of the Maserati on the grass, also passed Mike Hawthorn for the lead. Ultimately, he won the race by just three seconds. For Maserati, it was the ninth and final victory in the Formula 1 championship. For Fangio, he scored his fifth and final Driver’s Championship. “I have never driven so fast throughout my life,” he said at the end of the race. “And I think I’ll never be able to do it again.” Prophetic words!
© Riproduzione riservata