GERMAN GRAND PRIX

GERMAN GRAND PRIX

UAN MANUAL FANGIO WAS A MAN CAPABLE OF the seemingly impossible, but even reading about otherworldly charge in the August 1957 German Grand Prix leaves you with a knot-in-the-stomach

sensation. The passing of time has done nothing to lessen the myth behind his final and greatest Grand Prix triumph, // Maestro having left the best till last. After repeatedly breaking the lap record prior to his first pitstop after 12 laps, he and his Maserati 250F seemed to be on the same page, working in celestial alignment. After all, he had a lead of 28 seconds over the Ferraris of Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorn. Then it began to go horribly wrong.

A problematic stop meant he emerged trackside almost 50 seconds down on the Ferraris. It holds true in broad outline that what followed next was one of the greatest-ever comeback drives. Fangio dug deep and uncorked a string of epic laps of unprecedented focus and intensity. The leading Britons had slackened their pace, which proved to be a costly error. Keeping the 250F in a higher gear for some of the fastest turns, Fangio took 12 seconds out of the deficit inside one lap. The Old Man would go on to circulate in a belief-beggaring 9min 17.4sec and by lap 20 he was on the tail of the lead duo.

On the approach to the North Turn, the Argentinian sliced inside Collins only to run slightly wide and momentarily lose the place. With two wheels on the grass, he reclaimed the position and tore after Hawthorn who didn't relinquish the lead without a fight, but Fangio wasn't to be denied: he took the chequered flag by 3.6sec. You cannot deny destiny.