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1957 Argentine Grand Prix

The first round of the 1957 Formula-1 World Championship took place on January 13 in Argentina at the October 17 circuit in Buenos Aires. The track was built in 1951 and was unique in that it had a whole set of configurations created with the help of numerous branches. As usual, in the Formula-1 Grand Prix was used configuration No. 2, the length of which was 3.91 km.

Buenos-Aires 1954.jpg

Over the past few years, the Argentine Grand Prix, held in the middle of winter, has always served as the launch pad of the World Championship, where autoracing fans could once again plunge into the world of motors after several months of calm and see with their own eyes both their favorite drivers and new cars. Naturally, such an early start of the first stage was welcomed by the organizers, however, as last year, high transport costs and insufficient preparation of new cars did not allow British teams to attend the opening of the season, and as a result, only three Italian teams took part in the Grand Prix: Ferrari, Maserati and Scuderia Centro Sud.


The strongest team of the last championship, Scuderia Ferrari, came to Argentina with six of its last year's Ferrari D50 cars, which were claimed by eight drivers at once.


The main line-up of the Scuderia included Peter Collins, Mike Hawthorn, Eugenio Castellotti, Luigi Musso, Cesare Perdisa, Alfonso de Portago and Wolfgang von Trips, while the only temporary driver of the team was the 1954 Formula-1 vice-champion Jose-Froilan Gonzalez.

However, even despite the presence of the Pampas Bull in the Scuderia, all the aspirations of local fans were associated with another Italian team, Maserati, in which two local stars performed at once: four-time world champion Juan-Manuel Fangio, who returned to the Modena team, and his long-time rival, Carlos Menditeguy.


In addition to the two Argentines, the Italian team was also represented by two more drivers: Frenchman Jean Behra, who was already in his third season at Maserati, and former team leader Stirling Moss, who, in the absence of his new Vanwall team, was forced to drive a Modena car again. As for the bolids themselves, already at the first stage of the championship, Maserati brought their updated 250F cars, featuring a lighter chassis, which went to Fangio, Moss and Behra, while Menditeguy had to settle for last year's model.

The last team to take part in the Argentine Grand Prix was the private Italian team Scuderia Centro Sud, which was represented by American Harry Schell, Swede Jo Bonnier and local racer Alessandro de Tomaso. At the same time, if Schell and Bonnier got last year's Maseratis 250F at their disposal, then de Tomaso appeared at the wheel of a 2.5-liter Ferrari 500, built back in 1954! The list of participants was closed by the private racer Luigi Piotti, who also drove a Maserati 250F, and thus, as last year, the entire peloton consisted only of Ferraris and Maseratis again.


The very first qualifying of the season showed that the updated Maserati cars hold the track better than Ferraris, and it was the drivers of the Modena team who were ahead, taking the first three places on the starting field. However, there was no special joy on the faces of local fans, because their idol, four-time world champion Juan-Manuel Fangio was only the second, losing to his teammate Stirling Moss for more than 1 sec! Probably, some role in this was played by the fact that the Argentine was still getting used to his new car, while the Englishman, who spent the whole past year driving a Maserati, felt like a fish in water and was simply unstoppable, losing only 0.1 seconds to last year's record, shown by the same Fangio! The third time was shown by another Maserati driver Jean Behra, who also turned out to be very fast, losing to the world champion by only 0.3 sec.

Unlike the drivers of the Modena team, the Scuderia racers clearly felt out of place, and this feeling was only exacerbated by their intra-team struggle for the right to take part in the race, as a result of which they could only boast of positions from 4th to 7th. At the same time, it was Castellotti who became the fastest driver of the Scuderia, losing more than 1.5 sec to pole position time, while Collins, Musso and Hawthorn followed him, showing approximately the same result. In addition to the listed drivers, Gonzalez and Perdisa were also lucky to get to the start of the Grand Prix, who were already seriously lagging behind their teammates, while de Portago and von Trips ended up in the reserve.

As for the other places in the top ten, they went to Menditeguy, who drove with full tanks, hoping that this would play into his hands in the race, and Schell, who looked very good at the wheel of a private Maserati and even managed to get ahead of two Ferrari drivers. The last places on the starting field went to de Tomaso, Bonnier and Piotti, and the only surprise here was that the Argentinian driving an outdated Ferrari managed to get ahead of his two rivals on more advanced cars.




Start. After the wave of the Argentine flag, all cars take off and rush to the first corner, but Moss immediately loses speed, and a good half of the peloton passes him at once! Meanwhile, Behra becomes the leader of the race, with Castellotti hanging on his tail, while Fangio, as usual, starts too cautiously and eventually becomes only 3rd.


At the end of the lap, Moss, who has completely lost speed, pulls into the pits, where mechanics immediately begin to check his car and discover that the problem was in a faulty throttle drive.


Position after the 1st lap: Behra, Castellotti, Fangio, Hawthorn, Collins, Musso, Menditeguy, Schell, Perdisa, Gonzalez. 
Lap 2: The hero of last year's Grand Prix, Menditeguy, does not shine with speed this time, and he misses Schell in the fight for 7th place.
Lap 3: After two laps of pursuit, Castellotti finally manages to get ahead of Behra, and thus the Italian becomes the new leader of the race!


Meanwhile, behind Menditeguy makes a mistake and spins, losing another position!


Lap 6: Despite all his efforts, Castellotti fails to create a sufficient gap from his pursuers, and Behra starts pressing him again!


Lap 7: "The Pampas bull" Gonzalez, having got used to his car a little, begins to increase the pace and wins back one position, pushing back the same Menditeguy!
Lap 8: Collins, who has been behind Hawthorn for a long time, finally goes on the attack and passes his teammate, moving up to 4th!
Lap 9: After several laps of pursuit, Behra is ahead of Castellotti again, and thus the Frenchman regains the lead in the race!


In addition, on the same lap, Collins wins back another position, getting ahead of Fangio!
Lap 10: After losing about 15 minutes in the pits, Moss finally gets back to the track, however, the Englishman clearly cannot count on any success in this Grand Prix.
Position after 10 laps: Behra, Castellotti, Collins, Fangio, Hawthorn, Musso, Schell, Perdisa, Gonzalez, Menditeguy. 
Lap 11: Collins continues his break to the top and now passes his teammate Castellotti, moving up to 2nd place! Besides, on the same lap, Gonzalez wins back another position, having passed Perdisa.
Lap 12: Back on the track, Moss sets an incredible pace, winning back about a second per lap from the leaders!
Lap 13: Collins attacks Behra and becomes the new leader of the race!


Besides, on the same lap, Fangio finally activates and passes Castellotti.
Lap 14: Having overtaken Behra, Collins picks up the pace and starts to break away from the Frenchman! Meanwhile, Menditeguy also finally manages to find the right pace, and he passes Perdisa for 9th.
Lap 15: Gonzalez wins back another position, overtaking Schell, and thus the Argentine is already in 7th place!
Lap 17: Castellotti spins and loses two positions at once, missing his teammates Hawthorn and Musso!


Lap 19: Menditeguy wins back another position, this time leaving Schell behind!
Position after 20 laps: Collins, Behra, Fangio, Hawthorn, Musso, Castellotti, Gonzalez, Menditeguy, Schell, Perdisa. Collins continues to lead the race confidently, breaking away from his pursuers by 3 sec, but it is Moss who still the fastest driver on the track!
Lap 25: Menditeguy catches up with Gonzalez and immediately goes on the attack, but when trying to overtake the cars touch, as a result of which Jose-Froilan flies off the track! Be that as it may, in this way Carlos is already in 7th, while Jose-Froilan, having lost a lot of time when returning to the track, also misses Schell and Perdisa!
Lap 26: Collins is in trouble! The Englishman, who was confidently leading the race, suddenly turns into the pits and, stopping the car, convulsively explains to the mechanics that he cannot turn on a single gear!


After inspection, it turns out that the clutch on the Ferrari burned out almost completely, and now Peter has no choice but to leave the race! Meanwhile, the new leader of the race is now ... Fangio, who gets ahead of his teammate Behra on this very lap! Seeing their favorite at the head of the race, the grandstands are simply overjoyed! 
Position after 30 laps: Fangio, Behra, Hawthorn, Musso, Castellotti, Menditeguy, Schell, Perdisa, Gonzalez, Bonnier.
Lap 31: Musso, who is in 4th place, also has a problem with the clutch, and the Italian, in turn, pulls into the pits, retiring! Meanwhile, at the same time Perdisa also stops in the Scuderia pits, who, having left the car, passes it to Collins, who returns to the race again!


Lap 34: After spending several laps in the cockpit of the short Italian, Peter feels obvious discomfort, and, unable to find the previous pace, the Englishman loses one position, missing Gonzalez!
Lap 35: Hawthorn, who, thanks to the problems of his teammates, was already in 3rd place, also begins to experience problems with the clutch and lets Castellotti through!
Lap 36: Having completely lost speed, Mike also drives into the pits, and thus already the third Ferrari leaves the race due to problems with the clutch!


Position after 40 laps: Fangio, Behra, Castellotti, Menditeguy, Schell, Gonzalez, Collins, Bonnier, de Tomaso, Piotti. 
Lap 47: Gonzalez, already weaned from participating in a full-fledged Grand Prix, begins to get tired and gives up 6th place to Collins.
Lap 49: After holding out for a couple more laps, the Pampas Bull still drives into the pits and passes his car to de Portago, who gets back to the track without losing a single position.


Lap 57: Menditeguy drives into the pits for a scheduled refueling, without losing a single position.
Lap 62: Collins, despite the obvious discomfort, still manages to catch up and get ahead of Shell, while the American loses control of his car and spins!


Fortunately, Harry manages not to stall, and the American continues the race, losing only a few seconds in this incident. Besides, on the same lap, Moss, flying along the track, finally manages to catch up with Piotti, who was in the penultimate place, and Stirling passes the Italian without any difficulty.
Lap 63: Moss wins back another position, overtaking de Tomaso, but the Englishman is now almost three laps from his next opponent, Bonnier, which makes his further progress an almost impossible task.
Lap 65: After breaking away from Schell, Collins drives into the pits again and passes his car to von Trips, thereby giving the German the opportunity to hold the first Grand Prix of his career.
Lap 69: Von Trips laps noticeably slower than Collins, which is immediately used by Schell, who easily catches up with the German and pushes him to the 6th position!
Lap 70: Von Trips does not give up, counterattacks the American and comes forward again!
Position after 70 laps: Fangio, Behra, Castellotti, Menditeguy, von Trips, Schell, de Portago, Bonnier, Moss, de Tomaso.
Lap 71: Schell attacks and passes von Trips again, and this time the American manages to immediately break away.
Lap 75: De Portago, in turn, catches up with von Trips and passes his teammate without apparent effort. Meanwhile, Moss continues to fly around the track and shows the best lap in the race with a record time of 1’44.7!
Lap 76: The left rear wheel on Castellotti's Ferrari suddenly flies off before the Ascari turn, and the Italian's out-of-control car immediately flies off the track! Fortunately, at this point the safety zone is wide enough, and as a result Eugenio comes out of this accident safe and sound.


However, after the Italian's retirement, Menditeguy is in 3rd now, and thus Scuderia loses the last chance of a podium in this race!
Lap 84: Fangio, confidently leading the race, pulls in for a scheduled refueling and concedes the lead to his teammate Behra, who is also waiting for a pit stop ahead.


Lap 85: Behra, in turn, stops for refueling and returns to the track 2nd, losing the lead to Fangio again.


Last lap: Fangio, having experienced no reliability problems during the race, calmly crosses the finish line first and thus wins another victory in his homeland, which becomes the fourth in his career!


Behind him, in 18 seconds, his teammate Behra finishes, who also held a race above all praise today, and the Frenchman becomes the only driver who lost to the world champion less than one lap. The final line under the magnificent performance of Maseratis in this race is summed up by Menditeguy, who manages to take the last step on the podium and thereby fully recoup last year's failure. Meanwhile, the fourth place goes to Harry Schell on another Maserati, and thus the American manages to repeat his best result in the very first race of this season! As for Scuderia, its best result in Argentina is only the 5th place, which is shared between Gonzalez and de Portago. However, the main loser of this stage is still Stirling Moss, who throughout this weekend had no equal in speed and who, for all his efforts, gets only one point for the best lap in the race.


Interesting facts:

- Carlos Menditeguy's first podium;

- Eugenio Castellotti's last Grand Prix;
- Scuderia Ferrari's 50th Grand Prix.

Driver standings


Alternative GP results

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