42 – 1937 Monaco GP


A series taken from the 162-page Motor Sport special 100 Greatest Grands Prix (other specials are available here).

Disobedience is perceived as a relatively fresh motor racing phenomenon – but that’s nonsense. Team orders have always played their part. In 1937 it was Manfred von Brauchitsch who opted to ignore them.

There were a few key names missing from the Monaco GP entry, because Hermann Lang was unwell and Dick Seaman was recovering from injuries sustained at the Nürburgring. Tazio Nuvolari, meanwhile, was otherwise engaged testing for Alfa Romeo at Monza.

There was still a fine field, though, Rudolf Caracciola leading initially from Mercedes team-mate von Brauchitsch, with the Auto Unions of Bernd Rosemeyer and Hans Stuck following. The Mercedes duo gradually pulled away at the front, but Rosemeyer then closed the gap and had all but caught von Brauchitsch when steering failure pitched him off the road. In his absence, the Mercedes drivers continued to set a fierce pace until Caracciola pitted with a serious misfire, shortly before half-distance. Repairs took more than three minutes and von Brauchitsch was clear.

View this race on the Database

The new leader made what should have been a routine stop on the 68th of 100 laps… but a front brake jammed and he lost just enough time to rejoin in front of the hard-charging Caracciola, who had recovered to second. The pair resumed where they had earlier left off… and team chief Alfred Neubauer signalled that von Brauchitsch should cede – an invitation he declined. He resisted until lap 80… and then only because he knew Caracciola had trashed his tyres, so would have to pit afresh. He did – and the prototype Sebastian Vettel cruised to the flag. SA

About 100 Greatest Grands Prix | From the editor Damien Smith
The Grand Prix motor races we can never forget…

This was a special one-off magazine, dedicated to our love of Grand Prix racing and produced by the same team that brings you Motor Sport each month.

It seemed a good idea: whittle down 107 years of racing history to come up with 100 GPs that could be considered the ‘greatest’ – then rank them in meritocratic order. By week three, the old grey matter was beginning to ache…

Defining greatness was the first task. There were the obvious races – the wheel-to-wheel duels, the comeback classics. But there were also individual performances of supreme dominance, races that might not necessarily have been the most exciting to witness. Greatness goes way beyond thrill-a-minute, we decided.

Choosing which races should make the list was hard enough; ranking the top 100 in some sort of order was even tougher, especially when it came to the crunch: which should be number one? We never did agree unanimously on the ‘greatest’, but if the magazine was to be finished a decision had to be taken. And that’s what I’m here for!

Will you agree with our choice and order? Probably not. But if steam begins to issue from your ears, take a deep breath. In any exercise such as this, there is no definitive list – because there can’t be. Our top 100 is based on opinion, nothing more, designed to be a bit of fun and to spark good-natured debate among fans of the world’s greatest sport.

You can download 100 Greatest Grands Prix in PDF form in the Motor Sport app.

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