THE GRAND PRIX OF SWITZERLAND CONVINCING VICTORY FOR AUTO-UNIONS DRIVEN BY VON STUCK AND MOMBERGER OVER ALFA-ROMEO, MERCEDES-BENZ, BUGATTI AND MASERATI. H. C. HAMILTON KILLED ON LAST LAP.
THE first Grand Prix of Switzerland was received with enormous enthusiasm by the entire population of Bern, the federal capital. Every hotel was booked up weeks before, innumerable posters covered the walls, and the shopkeepers all dressed their windows in a suitable Grand Prix fashion. The pdtissiers-Confiseurs vied with each other in making chocolate and sugar cakes of racing cars, and altogether the city could well be described as being “motor racing conscious.”
A beautiful circuit of 7 kin. 280 metres was prepared in the Forest of Bremgarten, about a mile from the city, and a fine tribune to hold 4,000 spectators was erected opposite the pits. The voiturette race (1,500 c.c.) was held over 15 laps, or 109 km. 200, and the big race over 70 laps or 509 km. 600. Practice times showed that the course could be lapped in 2 mins. 50 secs., which represents an average speed of about 96 m.p.h.
Promptly at 10.30 the voiturette race began, drawing a field of 22 cars made up as follows: M.G. (Hercullyns, Kohlrausch, Krebs, Hamilton and Seaman), Bugatti (Mme. Kozmian, Veyron, Sojka, Simon, Burggaller, Cholmondeley-Tapper, Mme. Itier, and Hartmann), Maserati (Malag-uti, Kessler, Castelbarco, Ruesch, and Tote), Amilcar (Hummel and Briem), Dela.ge (Earl Howe), Salmson (Giroc1), Talbot (Plate). The lead was immediately taken by Malaguti’s Maserati, and the Italian held his position for 11 laps. Hamilton and Seaman were handicapped at the start by being in the 7th and 9th rows respectively, and Hamilton had to retire on the seventh lap with engine trouble. Seaman, however, was driving splendidly and gradually worked his way into the lead, which he held to the end. Earl Howe and T. P. Cholmondeley-Tapper could not get among the leaders, but the latter was doing very well in view of the fact that his car was unsupercharged. The fastest lap was made by Hans Kessler (Maserati) in 3 mins. 4 secs.
1. R. J. B. Seaman (M.G. Magnette), 50m. 43.6s., 120.559 k.p.h.
2. P. Veyron (Bugatti), 51m. 5.6s.
3. Burggaller (Bugatti), 51m. 11.4s.
4. Snika (Bugatti), 51m. 41s.
5. Earl Howe (Delage), 51m. 53.6s.
6. Castelbarco (Maserati), 52m. I8.4s.
7. Girod (Saltuson). 52m. 58.6s.
8. Cholmondeley-Tapper (Bugatti), 53m. 20,4s.
9. Mine. Itier (Bugatti), 541n. 0.45.
10. Mme. Kozmiau (Bugatti), 54m. 20s.
By the time 1 o’clock came, and the Grand Prix itself was due to start, a huge crowd lined the course, estimated at over 50,000 people. The story of the race as far as the winner is concerned is easily told, for Hans Stuck immediately took the lead with his silver Auto Union and was never seriously challenged from start to finish. For nearly 30 laps Tazio Nuvolari (Maserati) was in second place, with Chiron (Alfa-Romeo) third and Dreyfus (Bugatti) fourth. At that point great excitement was caused by Dreyfus passing Chiron, and the former’s position was improved to second when Nuvolari retired with incurable misfiring on his Maserati.
The French _section of the crowd was delighted to see the Bugatti in such a favourable position, and they had every hope of seeing Dreyfus finish second. A few laps before the end, however, his radiator began to run dry, and a brief halt for water allowed Momberger to slip by on the second Auto Union. So Dreyfus could only get a ” third ” after all. His Bugatti had run fautlessly throughout the race. The two Auto Unions were in perfect condition, and thoroughly deserved their victory. The third car of the team, driven by the Prince von Leiningen, developed ignition trouble and was withdrawn on the 20th lap. Behind Dreyfus came Varzi and Chiron, occupying for once a back seat in the proceedings. It was strange, indeed, to see the invincible Ferrari Alfa-Romeo’s incapable of finishing better than fourth and fifth. The reason for their failure to occupy a higher place is difficult to find, for the tars seemed to be functioning satisfactorily. It is possible that they
lacked the maximum speed of the Auto Unions, an important point on the Bremgarten circuit which has good straights. Another contributory factor in their defeat is that the drivers are probably a little stale, having had a much fuller season than the Germans.
It was definitely an “off day” for the Mercedes. Caracciola made a good start and followed Von Stuck for a few laps, but then he fell right back with petrol pump trouble, a misfortune that has attacked the cars before. Later he handed over to Geier, who brought the car in 10th and last. The other two machines, driven by Fagioli and Von Brauchitsch, were both suffering from weak. brakesagain a difficulty which has previously beset the cars. The ” Mercs ” seemed to lack adequate preparation.
As reported elsewhere in this issue, the race was a disastrous one for England, for H. C. Hamilton was killed almost within sight of the finishing line. He had piloted his Maserati with characteristic coolness and skill, and was lying seventh behind Fagioli’s Mercedes-Benz at the time of the accident. On the single dangerous corner of the course he left the road and crashed into a tree, bouncing off into another. A branch from the latter fell on the head of a spectator, who was taken to hospital with a fractured skull.
The only other English competitor was Earl Howe, who finished ninth, after a steady display of polished driving. The weather, which was fine and clear in the morning, deteriorated in the afternoon and rain made the road very slippery at one stage.
1. Von Stuck (Auto Union), 3h. 37m. 51.6s., 140.350 k.p.h.
2. Momberger (Auto Union), 3b. 37m. 54.4s.
3. Dreyfus (Bugatti), 69 laps, 31i. 38m. 10.2s.
4. VarZi (Alfa-Romeo), 69 laps, 3h. 39m. 53.4s. S. Chiron (Alfa-Romeo), 69 laps, 3h. 40m. 35.6s.
6. Fagioli (Meraas-Benz), 68 laps, 311. 38m. 34.4s.
7. Gherzi (Alfa-Romeo), 66 laps, 311. 38m. 505.
8. Biondetti (Maserati), 66 laps, 3h. 38m. 58.4s.
9. Earl Howe (Maserati), 66 laps, 3h. 40m. 46.8s.
10. Caracciola-Geier (Mercdcbs-Benz), 62 laps, 3h. 39m. 59.2s.