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1954 German Grand Prix

The fifth round of the 1954 Formula-1 World Championship took place on August 1 in Germany at the famous Nurburgring circuit, which this year received the honorary title of European Grand Prix. The track in Nurburgring was huge, its length was as much as 22.81 km, so the drivers had to complete only 22 laps, but considering that most of the route ran through the forest and was bordered by trees, it was rightfully considered one of the most dangerous.


       Two weeks after the devastating British Grand Prix, the Daimler-Benz team arrived at the home event determined to turn the tide in their favor with the new Mercedes W196 open-wheel cars, which were more suited to the technical circuits with lots of corners.


The drivers line-up was also strengthened by the last European circuit racing champion Herman Lang, who became a teammate of the team's main drivers Juan Manuel Fangio, Karl Kling and Hans Herrmann.


        At the same time, Fangio, Kling and Lang received at their disposal cars of a new modification, and Herrmann had to be content with the old model with a streamlined body.
       Scuderia Ferrari also took a fourth driver, Piero Taruffi, who already had experience with the Maranello team in 1951-52 and replaced Nino Farina, still recovering from his accident. At the same time, the team again decided to use the cars of the intermediate model 625, which brought success to Gonzalez and Hawthorn in the British Grand Prix. Not without changes in the Maserati team. Alberto Ascari, having spent two unsuccessful races in a row for the team from Modena, decided to break off cooperation with the Italian trident and temporarily stop participating in the World Championship, preferring to wait for the debut of his main Lancia team. His place at Maserati was taken by Sergio Mantovani, who had already drove for the team in Belgium and became a teammate of Onofre Marimon and Luigi Villoresi. In addition, after the excellent performances of Stirling Moss at the wheel of a private Maserati, the team management offered the Englishman partial cooperation, asking him to repaint his green car in red, promising technical support in return. Moss agreed to this offer, but managed to win at least a green bonnet for his car, as a result of which his Maserati acquired a rather gaudy red and green look.
        The Gordini team this time was represented by four drivers, and Paul Frere, Clemar Bucci and André Pilette, who previously replaced each other in Gordini during the season, took their seats behind the wheels of French cars as well as the team leader Jean Behra. Private Maseratis 250F were driven by Roberto Mieres and Prince Bira, while Harry Schell drove last year's Maserati A6GCM. Louis Rosier again entered two Ferraris, driven by himself and Robert Manzon, and the only German private racer was Theo Helfrich, who drove a Klenk-Meteor car with a BMW engine.



The first two days of qualifying were spoiled by rain, which forced most of the drivers to hole up in the pits. However, on Saturday morning the sun came out, and all the drivers immediately poured onto the track. Once again, Juan-Manuel Fangio was the fastest, demonstrating the excellent speed of the new Mercedes, breaking the track record held since 1939!


Second place three seconds behind the Argentine was taken by Hawthorn, who felt very confident at the Nurburgring, and the third was Stirling Moss, who once again showed his talent, although he lost to Fangio for more than 10 seconds.


Hans Herrmann, who managed to take 4th place in his Mercedes Streamliner, and Paul Frere in Gordini, who became 6th, also performed very well. Meanwhile, Herman Lang, who returned behind the wheel of Mercedes after a 15-year break, was clearly cautious and took only 9th place, losing 23 seconds to Fangio, and his teammate Karl Kling failed to show a single fast lap due to a wheel that fell off right on the track.


However, all these events were overshadowed by the terrible accident in which Onofre Marimon was involved. The young Argentine, trying to get the most out of his Maserati, made a mistake with braking at the Wehrseifen turn, and his car, ramming bushes and trees growing on the side of the road, tumbled down the slope. When the Maserati eventually froze at the bottom of the slope with its wheels up, the racer was still in the cockpit, pinned down by his car, which made it assume the worst.


When the vague news of the accident reached the paddock, Gonzalez, who was Onofre's close friend, immediately got into the car and rushed to the scene. However, the Argentine did not have time to catch his friend alive, since Marimon died just a few minutes after he was pulled out from under the car and received the last communion.


Returning to the pits, Gonzalez, with a heavy heart, told everyone about the death of Onofre, after which he began to sob on Fangio's shoulder.

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This news plunged the entire paddock into shock, and naturally there was no question of further struggle for the best positions at the start. At the same time, the Maserati team withdrew from the competition as a sign of respect for their deceased driver, but Sergio Mantovani nevertheless decided to take part in the Grand Prix as a private driver.



Despite the tragic death of Marimon, which was a heavy burden on the shoulders of all participants in the Grand Prix, all drivers still go to the start of the race, which was attended by about 300,000 spectators, including German President Theodor Heuss. At the same time, the eighth place on the starting grid, which belonged to Marimon, was left empty by the organizers in memory of the Argentinean.


Start. Gonzalez has the best start from the fifth position and breaks into the lead ahead of Fangio and Moss! Hawthorn, on the contrary, fails the start, and enters the first turn only 8th! Meanwhile, Lang and Kling on two Mercedes win back many positions at once, as a result of which they take 4th and 10th place, respectively, and Fangio on the third Mercedes at the end of the lap attacks Gonzalez and takes the lead!


Also, at the very beginning of the race, the suspension on Pilette's Gordini breaks, and the Belgian retires from the race.
Position after lap 1: Fangio, Gonzalez, Moss, Lang, Herrmann, Hawthorn, Behra, Trintignant, Mantovani, Kling.
Lap 2: On Moss' Maserati, one of the connecting rods breaks, damaging the engine, and the Englishman again, as in Silverstone, loses the opportunity to get on the podium due to a technical problem! Third is now Lang, and Hawthorn is in fourth place, who manages to get ahead of Herrmann.


Trintignant also wins back one position, overtaking Behra, while Mantovani and Schell, on the contrary, lose two positions to their rivals.


Lap 3: Kling overtakes Trintignant and Herrmann, and after starting from the last row, he is already in 5th place!


Meanwhile, in the middle of the peleton, there is a heated struggle between Mantovani and Frere, as a result of which the Italian manages to get ahead.


Also on this lap, three drivers at once have problems with their cars. On Behra's Gordini misfiring occurs, and the Frenchman drives into the pits to replace the spark plugs, descending to the very end of the peleton. Taruffi's Ferrari has one of the wheels flat, and the Italian also drives into the pits, where mechanics change the rear wheels and refuel the car at the same time. Meanwhile Mieres, due to problems with fuel leakage on his Maserati, drops out of the race altogether.
Lap 4: The rear axle breaks on Hawthorn's Ferrari, and the Englishman drives into the pits, leaving the race! After Mike's retirement Kling comes out in 4th place, who meanwhile sets the fastest lap in the race!


Behind Mantovani and Frere continue to fight, and now the Belgian comes forward.
Lap 5: Lang attacks Gonzalez and takes 2nd place!


Meanwhile, the rear axle breaks on Frere's Gordini, as a result of which the Belgian loses a wheel at full speed! Fortunately, this happens on a straight section of the track, and Paul manages to slow down, avoiding an accident, after which he turns to the side of the road and leaves the race. However, his rival Mantovani still can't breathe freely as he is now being attacked and passed by Manzon!
Lap 7: Gonzalez is caught up by Kling flying like a hurricane, who passes Ferrari without much difficulty!


Now three Mercedes take the first three places in the race, bringing the German fans into indescribable delight! However, things are not going so well for fourth Mercedes driver Herrmann, who, due to problems with the fuel pump  is forced to retire from the race.
Lap 8: Taruffi, after his forced pit stop, catches up with the rest of the field and passes Bucci's Gordini, moving up to 10th place.


Lap 9: Mantovani, after several laps of struggle with Manzon, manages to get past the Frenchman, taking 6th place. Meanwhile,  Taruffi wins back two more positions, overtaking Schell and Prince Bira.


Besides, two more drivers drop out of the race: Helfrich's engine burns out, and Bucci's Gordini, like Frere's, loses one of the wheels!
Lap 10: Kling catches up with his teammate Lang and after a short struggle he takes 2nd place!


On the same lap, Taruffi passes Manzon and is already 7th!


Position after 10 laps: Fangio, Kling, Lang, Gonzalez, Trintignant, Mantovani, Taruffi, Manzon, Schell, Bira. Fangio comfortably leads the race, 20 seconds ahead of Kling, but the German continues to fly around the track, clearly not going to stop there.
Lap 11: Lang skids in the Flugplatz turn, causing his Mercedes to spin and stall!


The annoyed German gets out of the car and heads to the pits on foot, but he still deserves a storm of applause from his compatriots. After Lang's retirement, Gonzalez becomes third again, but he loses to a pair of leading Mercedes for about two and a half minutes.


On the same lap, Manzon counterattackes Taruffi and took 6th place.
Lap 12: Kling wins back from Fangio by four seconds per lap and closes his gap to 12 seconds!


Lap 13: Lang gets to the Mercedes pits and reports his mistake to Neubauer. The head of the German team, after listening to the driver's report, immediately instructs Fangio and Kling to slow down, wanting to calmly lead the two remaining cars to the victorious finish at the home stage. At the same time, when the drivers cross the finish line, there are already only seven seconds between them!
Lap 14: Fangio slows down following the directions from the pits, but Kling doesn't and by the end of the lap catches up with his teammate, hanging on his tail!


Lap 15: In the first turn of the Sudkehre, Kling goes on the attack and takes the lead! Fangio, realizing that the German is not going to be content with second place, also pushes the gas pedal to the floor and starts chasing his teammate's Mercedes!


Both drivers are lapping fantastically fast, with Kling showing the fastest lap of the race, infuriating Neubauer! At the edge of the track, Neubauer's assistant immediately reappears with the same "Slow down" sign, who even waves his fist as Kling and Fangio rush by to make it more convincing!


Lap 16: Kling clearly does not intend to follow the order from the pits and starts to break away from Fangio, bringing the German fans into complete delight!


Meanwhile, Gonzalez, who is in third place, drives into the pits to refuel and passes his car to Hawthorn. The Argentine lasted as long as he could in this race, but it was beyond his strength to drive one more lap past the turn that brought death to his friend. However, his lead over fourth-placed Trintignant was large enough for Hawthorn to enter the track without losing third place.


Lap 17: It looks like the joy of the German fans was premature as Kling suddenly loses speed and Fangio takes the lead again!


Driving along the finish line, Kling points to the rear suspension, but he is clearly not going to stop in the pits and rushes past.
Lap 18: Kling falls even further behind, losing his last chances to win, but on this lap he also misses the pits. Meanwhile, Trintignant pulls in for refueling while maintaining fourth place.
Lap 19: Neubauer shows Kling the sign to pit, and this time the German obeys the order. When Karl stops his Mercedes in the place that Neubauer pointed out to him with his flag, a crowd of curious people immediately forms around, consisting of journalists, marshals and just onlookers. This was the last straw in the patience of the German team's head, already turned on by the disobedience of his drivers, and he rushes into this crowd, waving his flag and clearing a place for the mechanics to work! Thanks to Neubauer's efforts, the Daimler-Benz staff immediately go to work, refueling the car, and Kling explains what is wrong with his Mercedes.


Unfortunately, the suspension problem turns out to be too serious, and Kling has no choice but to return to the track in a broken car. This pit stop ends up costing the German second place, forcing him to drop to fourth place behind the Ferraris of Hawthorn and Trintignant. Besides, on the same lap, Prince Bira enters the pits with faulty steering and retires.
Lap 20: Manzon enters the pits with a car problem and drops to penultimate place.
Last lap: With a fair lead over Hawthorn, Fangio slows down and calmly finishes first, bringing home win for Mercedes!


However, receiving the winning cup, the Argentine for the first time did not feel any joy, grieving for his dead friend and compatriot Marimon.


Hawthorn finished second, one and a half minutes behind the Argentine, sharing his place with Gonzalez, and their teammate Trintignant becomes third, who manages to get to the podium thanks to the problems of his rivals. The hero of the race Kling, who made his way from last place to the leader of the race, due to his suspension problems, gets only fourth place, and Mantovani becomes fifth,  earning his first points in Formula 1.


Interesting facts:

- Sergio Mantovani's first points.

Driver standings


Alternative GP results

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