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1957 German Grand Prix

The fifth round of the 1957 Formula-1 World Championship took place on August 4 in Germany at the famous Nürburgring circuit, which, due to huge 22.81-km length, the many turns, height differences and trees bordering it, was rightfully considered one of the most difficult and dangerous and was referred to among drivers nothing less than “Green Hell". Compared to last year, some sections of the track received a new surface, while its length remained unchanged, and the drivers had to complete 22 laps.


Two weeks after the British Grand Prix, which saw Vanwall's first victory, a double podium for Ferrari and a completely disastrous performance for Maserati, the leader of the Modena team Juan-Manuel Fangio arrived in Germany still holding the lead in the championship, but his advantage over his nearest rival Luigi Musso was no longer so obvious, dropping to 12 points.


However, even despite the fact that the world champion himself had one of the worst races of his career at Aintree, in the Nürburgring the Argentine looked, as usual, very confident and was determined to put an end to the fight for the title here. At the same time, realizing that a 12-cylinder car had no chance on this huge track with many turns, the Modena team again brought only their lightweight 6-cylinder 250F cars, while their line-up has undergone some changes.


Carlos Menditeguy, who was constantly plagued by various failures throughout the European races, eventually chose to leave the Old World and returned to his native Argentina, and his place in the team was taken by Maserati reserve driver Giorgio Scarlatti, who became a teammate of Jean Behra and Harry Schell.

There were some changes at Scuderia Ferrari as well. Maurice Trintignant, unhappy at being relegated to a clear supporting role in the Great Britain, also left the Italian team, and as a result, for the first time this season, Scuderia was represented by only three drivers Peter Collins, Mike Hawthorn and Luigi Musso, who, as before, drove Ferraris 801.


Meanwhile, the victor of the last round, the Vanwall team, was represented here by the same three drivers as in the Great Britain: Stirling Moss, Tony Brooks and Stuart Lewis-Evans, while for the British team this visit to the Nurburgring was the first in its short history.


As for another British team, BRM, after an absolutely disastrous performance in their homeland, Alfred Owen decided to withdraw his team from the championship, focusing on finding new drivers and refining his long-suffering P25 cars.

In addition to the factory teams, three private drivers Bruce Halford, Chico Godia and Horace Gould also took part in the German Grand Prix, as well as the private team Scuderia Centro Sud, which this time was represented by American Masten Gregory and former Mercedes driver Hans Herrmann. At the same time, all of the above racers were driving identical Maserati 250F cars, but the American’s car stood out with its unusual coloring in the color of the US national flag.


Meanwhile, given the rather small number of Formula-1 cars entered to participate in the Grand Prix, the organizers decided to increase the number of participants at the expense of Formula-2 cars, organizing a separate competition for their drivers. Of course, this news was received with a bang by local spectators, since after last year’s Grand Prix, which went without a single German car, this decision opened the way to the World Championship for the famous German brand Porsche, which entered two of their 1.5-liter sports cars 550RS.


At the same time, local driver Edgar Barth and former Ferrari driver Umberto Maglioli were honored to represent the famous German brand, while another Porsche was put up for the start by the Dutch aristocrat Carel Godin de Beaufort, who acted as a private driver.

Porsche's main rival in the Formula-2 class was, certainly, the British Cooper team, whose rear-engined cars have managed to show their competitiveness more than once this season, fighting almost on equal terms with Formula-1 cars.


The team's drivers, as at the previous stage, were Jack Brabham and Roy Salvadori, however, in addition to them, four more British private racers Tony Marsh, Paul England, Brian Naylor and Dick Gibson came to the start driving the same cars.


Unlike last year, both days of practice were held in warm and dry weather, so as soon as the cars appeared on the track and began to set fast laps, it became obvious that the previous record, set by Fangio in a Mercedes back in 1954, would fall quite quickly. At the same time, the Argentine himself once again proved that he was an unsurpassed master of the Nurbugring, and already on Friday the world champion showed an absolutely phenomenal result of 9’25.6, which exceeded his own record by almost 25 sec!


Naturally, after such a performance, Juan-Manuel allowed himself to relax a little, and on Saturday he spent most of the time in the pits, watching the futile attempts of his rivals to get closer to his result. The Nürburgring track generally suited the Modena cars quite well, and the world champion's teammates Behra and Schell also looked very good, taking 3rd and 6th positions respectively. In addition, realizing that the soft Pirelli tires were unlikely to last the entire race distance, Maserati mechanics practiced pit stops during qualifying, and as a result, under the watchful supervision of team chief Nello Ugolini, they managed to reduce the time for changing wheels and refueling just up to half a minute!

Meanwhile, the main rivals of the Modena team in qualifying were the Scuderia drivers, and the fastest of them was once again Mike Hawthorn, who, losing “only” 2.8 sec to Fangio, took 2nd place on the starting grid.


At the same time, Collins also turned out to be quite fast, showing 4th result, while Musso this time was unable to maintain the high pace of his teammates, taking only 8th place on the grid. As for the Vanwall drivers, compared to the two Italian teams they looked very pale and, having suffered through both days of training with suspension settings, they ended up showing only 5th, 7th and 9th results, with Brooks at the head. The next places behind the three factory teams were taken by the Scuderia Centro Sud drivers, and the fastest of them was Masten Gregory, who, despite the lack of experience on this track, managed to get far ahead of his German teammate and closed the top ten fastest drivers.


As for the Formula-2 racers, a rather serious struggle for the title of the fastest also broke out between them, and in the end it was Edgar Barth in a Porsche, who took 12th place and managed to get ahead of even Scarlatti in a factory Maserati.



On race day, the sun is shining brightly from the very morning, and, rejoicing in the real summer warmth, spectators fill all the surrounding forests and stands, looking forward to seeing a first-class fight between the best Formula-1 drivers. Meanwhile, the leading teams choose different strategies for the race: Ferraris and Vanwalls start with full tanks, not planning to stop even once, while Maseratis start with half-empty tanks, planning one pit stop.


Start. The Ferraris and Maseratis in the front row take off almost simultaneously, but Hawthorn manages to immediately take the lead, while his teammate Collins manages to get ahead of Fangio and Behra in the first turn, taking 2nd!


The third Ferrari driver Musso also gets off to a great start and manages to immediately break into 6th place, while during the first lap the Italian wins back another position, overtaking Moss!


Stirling himself spends the first lap poorly, and after a good start he lets not only Musso, but also Schell through, after which he immediately falls under the attacks of his teammate Brooks. Meanwhile, another hero of the start is Salvadori, who immediately moves up to 10th place, while Scarlatti, on the contrary, starts very badly and becomes only 17th. In addition, already on the first lap Gould has problems with the rear suspension, which force the Englishman to soon retire from the race.
Position after 1st lap: Hawthorn, Collins, Fangio, Behra, Musso, Schell, Brooks, Moss, Lewis-Evans, Salvadori. After the first lap there is only one second between Hawthorn and Collins, while Fangio is already 4 sec behind the Ferrari pair!
Lap 2: Having warmed up the tires, Fangio picks up the pace and begins to rapidly catch up with the Scuderia drivers!


Meanwhile, on the same lap, Gregory attacks Salvadori in the fight for 10th place and gets ahead!


Lap 3: Fangio goes on the attack and passes both Scuderia drivers one after another, after which he begins to break away from the Ferraris literally before our eyes!


At the same time, conceding the lead to the Argentine, Hawthorn hesitates a little, which is immediately used by Collins, who also passes his teammate and takes 2nd place!


Meanwhile, Lewis-Evans, who was in last place in the trio of successive Vanwalls, suddenly attacks and passes Moss, thus taking 8th position!


In addition, on the same lap, Salvadori loses another position, missing Herrmann, but the Englishman still holds the lead in the Formula-2 class.


Lap 4: Fangio, eager to create a sufficient gap before his pit stop, goes faster and faster and sets the best lap of the race 9'33.4!


Meanwhile, the battle between the two Ferraris continues and after a successful counter-attack, Hawthorn takes the lead again!


Besides, on the same lap, Naylor manages to pass de Beaufort, while Gibson drops out of the race with suspension problems.
Lap 5: Brooks, still suffering the consequences of his accident at Le Mans, begins to yield and loses two positions at once, missing his teammates Lewis-Evans and Moss!


In addition, on the same lap, England in another Cooper retires due to a distributor failure.
Lap 6: Fangio completes the lap with a time of 9’32.5 and thus breaks away from a pair of pursuing Ferraris already for 11 seconds!


Lap 7: Brabham's Cooper develops transmission problems and the Australian pulls into the pits, retiring from the race.
Lap 8: Fangio sets another lap record with a time of 9’30.8!


Lap 9: One of the gears starts to fall out on Lewis-Evans' Vanwall, and the young Englishman misses Moss in the fight for 7th place!


In addition, on the same lap, Herrmann loses two positions at once, missing Salvadori and Barth.


Lap 10: With the fuel tanks almost empty, Fangio completes a lap with a time of 9'29.5, thus extending his lead over the Ferraris  to 28 seconds!


Meanwhile, Behra is the first of the Maserati drivers to stop for a scheduled pit-stop, and, jumping out of the car, the Frenchman leaves it to the mechanics, who immediately begin changing tires and refueling. However, despite the training, the team is not very efficient, while Jean, jumping back into the car, manages to break the open fuel tank cap, replacing which he also loses precious time! As a result, having returned to the track, the Frenchman finds himself only in 8th position, having missed not only Musso and Schell, but even two Vanwall drivers! In addition, on the same lap, Salvadori begins to have problems with the transmission, and, having overtaken the Englishman, Edgar Barth in a Porsche now becomes the new leader in the Formula-2 class!


Position after 10 laps: Fangio, Hawthorn, Collins, Musso, Schell, Moss, Lewis-Evans, Behra, Brooks, Gregory.
Lap 11: Collins, still just a second apart from Hawthorn, attacks his teammate again and gets ahead,  taking 2nd place!


Meanwhile, Schell, in his turn, also makes a pit stop, after which he gets back to the track in 7th, behind Behra.


In addition, on the same lap, Scarlatti manages to pass Halford in the battle for 14th position, while Lewis-Evans and Godia drop out of the race due to problems with the gearbox and the steering, respectively.
Lap 12: Having brought his advantage to half a minute, Fangio also turns into the pits, hoping to still remain in the lead after refueling and changing wheels. However, this pit-stop turns out to be for the Argentinean a real nightmare! The mechanic in charge of the right rear wheel loses the hub nut during a replacement, which immediately causes turmoil in the Modena team's pits and allows both Ferrari drivers to take the lead!


At the same time, despite the complete commotion that reigned in the Maserati pits, the Argentinean, perhaps, remained the only person who managed to keep a cool head, and, using this hitch to stretch his legs and referesh himself, the world champion at the end of the pit stop decisively jumps back into his car and rushes in pursuit of his rivals!


Meanwhile, against the backdrop of the drama unfolding in the pits of the Modena team, Salvadori’s retirement goes completely unnoticed, who finishes the race in the pits with a broken suspension.
Lap 13: Having completed one lap, Fangio finally receives information from the team that his gap from the Ferrari pair is as much as 45 seconds, however, this does not discourage the world champion at all, and he only picks up the pace!


Meanwhile, on the same lap, engine problems begin on Herrmann's Maserati, and the German misses three rivals at once, dropping to 14th place.
Lap 14: Taking turns in higher gears and using almost every millimeter of the track, Fangio manages to reduce his gap to Ferrari by 4 seconds in one lap!


Meanwhile, on the same lap, Maglioli drops out of the race with engine problems on his Porsche.


Lap 15: After spending four laps on Collins' tail, Hawthorn again attacks his teammate and passes him in fight for the lead!


However, this fight only plays into the hands of Fangio, who wins back 5 sec from the Scuderia drivers on this lap!


As for Herrmann, after driving a couple of laps in a faulty car, the German finally gives up and pulls into the pits, retiring from the race.
Lap 16: After another great lap, Fangio gains another four seconds from Ferraris, bringing his gap down to 32 seconds!


Lap 17: Fangio laps with a record time of 9'28.9, which brings him closer to Hawthorn and Collins by another five seconds!


At the same time, seeing how the distance between the world champion and the Ferrari drivers is rapidly shrinking, the Scuderia management begin to noticeably get nervous and urge the two Englishmen to drive faster! Meanwhile, on the same lap, Barth pulls into the pits to change tires and refuel, letting Scarlatti and Halford ahead.
Lap 18: Fangio improves the lap record by more than 3 seconds, and, despite all the efforts of the Scuderia drivers, the gap between them and the world champion is already reduced to 21 seconds!


Lap 19: Fangio continues to fly around the track and, with a time of 9’23.4, laps 8 seconds faster than the Ferraris!


Lap 20: 9’17.4! There is real panic in the Scuderia pits, the stands are roaring with delight, while the unstoppable Fangio is almost on Ferraris' tail!


Lap 21: Having passed the first turn and the short straight, the Argentine literally eats up the remaining 3 seconds and immediately attacks Collins at the Nordkehre!


At the same time, despite the successful attack, Peter does not give up and immediately counterattacks the world champion, after which the two cars literally go through a series of turns side by side! Then, entering the short straight, both cars rush together towards the bridge, but there is only room for one car there, and Collins gives up first, giving up his position to the Argentinean! Having dealt with Collins, Fangio immediately rushes in pursuit of Hawthorn, who, thanks to the fight that unfolded behind him, manages to break away by a couple of seconds, while a stone flying out from under the wheels of the Argentinean's car hits directly in Peter's glasses, forcing the Englishman to slow down! Meanwhile Fangio catches up with Hawthorn like a hurricane, and, hanging on his tail, ends up ahead of the Englishman at the Breitscheid, thus taking the lead in the race!


Last lap: Fangio, having easily created some gap from Hawthorn, confidently completes the last lap and, amid thunder of applause, crosses the finish line first, thus becoming a five-time world champion!


Having stopped the car, Juan-Manuel immediately falls into the arms of his team, and a couple of mechanics, placing the world champion on their shoulders, carry him through the crowd straight to the podium, where Hawthorn is already waiting for him, while all the stands chant “Fangio! Fangio!"


Mike, with no sign of regret on his face about the missed victory, immediately hugs the world champion, congratulating him on this incredible achievement, and a minute later they are joined by Collins, who also receives the warmest greetings from his former teammate.


Truly, on this day the whole world witnessed one of the greatest triumphs in the history of motorsport, and in the glory rays of the great Argentinean, everyone felt like a winner...

Juan-Manuel Fangio: "... I always liked the Nürburgring, ever since I raced Alfetta for the first time in 1951. But on this day I won, I recognize that I was faster than ever, very focused and with the desire to be first. We knew that the Ferraris could do the whole race without refueling or changing tires because they had the Engleberts that were tougher. Maserati had the Pirelli, softer and better performance, but they were not going to endure the five hundred kilometers of the race...

In the race, Collins and Hawthorn went out to pull, but it struck me that instead of helping themselves to escape from me, they passed between them. I studied them two laps watching where I could attack them and on the third turn I began to hurry, surpassing them. According to the agreement with Bertochi, I would stop halfway through the race or when I achieved a 30 sec advantage.

I was running about 10 sec faster than the year before and halfway through the race, on lap 12, I stopped with 29 sec in my favor. I went down to refresh myself while they changed the covers and loaded fuel. I realized that my mechanics because of nerves or I will know why they were taking more than necessary. Not only did I lose all my advantage, but when I got out I was 48 sec behind the two Ferraris who had already passed, and there were only ten laps left, they pushed me and I left very disillusioned, thinking I had lost the race. I began to feel the Maserati to my liking, I considered a new form of race and look for the highest concentration, I knew Nürburgring well and its secrets of the twenty-two kilometers and one hundred and seventy-six curves, you do not have to let yourself be, because sometimes you think you're fast and it's not like that.

I started using the high gears, when in some fast corners it was possible, to go out with the engine in turns. And it made differences. I got excited and little by little in almost all the curves I did the same, although sometimes I felt the loss of adhesion of the car. Later I reached a jump to the entrance of the bridge and decided to take it thoroughly. I closed on the inside completely with my foot to the table. I hit the internal cord, I reached the top, the car took off and I went to the outside, at the edge of the track. Behind me, I saw a dust cloud on the shoulder. And I also liked it. When closing that lap I had discounted almost 10 sec the Ferrari drivers who had indicated, surprised, to keep the pace, to notice that in the previous my delay was for the tires.

I drove like never before. The Maserati traveled to the limit. I was testing trajectories demanding further in the blind spots. Lap after lap improved my times and when we entered the last laps Hawthorn had Collins at 1 sec, when between the plants in the middle of the forest I see the red spot of his car, which was lost at the exit of the turn. I told myself that I would reach it because from the pits they pointed out a Ferrari and not both. But in the descent of Adenau I see the two cars, one after the other and I had the feeling that I was going to reach them.

We arrived at the penultimate round and already had them. We went by the straight behind the pits and in the North corner, on the left, I got inside Collins. But the Maserati went a little bit and Collins beat me again and was in good position for the next corner. But I did not let it get bigger. I stuck to the line and walked together through a series of curves to the top of a short straight that had a bridge. There was no room for two cars and we were coming fast. Collins gave me passage because I had overcome it before, I crossed over on the bridge and went to fall on the slide that came later. I saw that the Hawthorn Ferrari was very close doubling and I was approaching in a mix that followed then and I stuck to the tail.


I had to see when I could pass it and halfway through the circuit, after a series of curves, there was a straight section that ended in a ninety degree curve, on the left followed by another one on the right, I saw clearly when Hawthorn, for Begin the chosen path, lie on the right. I chose then to put the trunk of my car inside. When I passed it, the Hawthorn Ferrari moved, but managed to recover immediately and tried to follow me. I knew I had to get away a little before entering a long straight, because taking advantage of the suction could overcome me.

I managed it and kept a prudent distance on the last lap. I had never driven in that way, but I also understood that I could never go back to driving like that, never!

In the pits I received an endless ovation and the audience walked me on litter. But the most beautiful thing was the encounter with Collins and Hawthorn, who were waiting for me on the podium to narrow with me, as if they had won. I really appreciated these two Englishmen and I did not forget what Collins had done the year before when he gave me his car so that I would be the Champion.

Mike Hawthorn: “... when we arrived at the bridge and the two cars did not pass, I thought: if I do not loosen, the Old Devil passes me over ...”


Interesting facts:

- Juan-Manuel Fangio's last victory.

Driver standings


Alternative GP results

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