Uncovered - The secret shots of Fangio's finest hour

These extraordinary images of the 1957 German GP have never been published before. They tell the tale of how one middle-aged man humbled the best drivers on the most feared circuit in the world

* * * * *

Fangio's classically laid back driving position in the Maserati 250F does not suggest the man is driving harder than he has ever done to catch the Ferraris of Hawthorn and Collins. But after a bungled pit stop he is over 45sec behind. For three laps, he makes no impression. But on the next, the gap is just 33sec...

* * * * *

Lap 21. Fangio has caught and passed the Collins Ferrari at the Nordkurve, having lapped the circuit 8.2sec faster than his own pole position time. Ahead lies the sister Ferrari and, at its helm, a driver some 18 years his junior and not known for giving an inch without good reason. There is just one lap remaining.

* * * * *

Well might he smile. Fangio crosses the line 4sec ahead of Hawthorn's Ferrari to win the race and, it transpires, his fifth and final World Championship.

It was truly the end of an era for both team and driver. It proved to be Maserati's last Grand Prix victory; Fangio, master of them all, never won another race.