Sideslips

Race: 1933 Monaco GP

Varzi/Nuvolari duel

There's never been a more thrilling race! For the whole distance, 100 laps, the blue and the red, France and Italy, Varzi and Nuvolari, Bugatti and Alfa Romeo, waged a battle which will live forever in the annals of motor racing history. As the two cars roared up the steep hill on the last lap, and Nuvolari's car slowed down in a wreath of smoke, I have never seen such intense, hysterical excitement in a crowd before.

On the third lap Nuvolari caught Borzacchini and went after Varzi --- the duel had begun. Then a great cry rang out from all around the course: Nuvolari was in the lead! But Varzi was equal to the occasion, and to the accompaniment of a still greater shout, once more led the field. For 30 laps there was only one second between them, until on that lap Nuvolari managed to slip by.

At 60 and 70 laps Nuvolari still led, winding his steering wheel fiercely from side to side, sitting bolt upright. Another sensation, Varzi was in the lead --- but only by 10 yards. On the 90th circuit Nuvolari was ahead again, but on the 93rd Varzi pushed his Bugatti to the fore. What a race!

Everyone was up on tiptoe with excitement. At the end of the 99th, Nuvolari appeared first, and as the cars streaked up the hill to the Casino the spectators, eyes glued to the two flashing specks of colour, suddenly uttered a tremendous roar: Nuvolari's red Alfa Romeo, its driver in third gear all the time, had slowed, smoke pouring from the bonnet, and in a trice Varzi was past. By the time Nuvolari had coasted to a standstill Varzi had the race in his pocket, but Nuvolari, never admitting defeat for a moment, began pushing his car with the assistance of his mechanic and others, reaching the line in an exhausted condition.
May 1933