1954 Swiss Grand Prix
- Sunday, August 22, 1954
- Grand Prix de Suisse
- F1 World Championship
The first practice was damp but not raining and though times were good they could not approach the long-standing record that Rosemeyer set up in 1936 with an Auto-Union. This still stands at 2 min. 34.5 sec., and the best the 2 1/2-litres could do under the conditions was 2 min. 39.5 sec. by Gonzalez and 2 min. 39.7 sec. by Fangio, with Moss third fastest with 2 min. 41.4 sec. The second practice period, there were only two, was held in continuous rain and for a long time no one could get below three minutes, and by the end of the period the weather was so dull that going through the wooded parts of the course visibility was at a minimum for high-speed motoring. Nevertheless all three Mercédès-Benz drivers got below three minutes, as did Trintignant, while Moss was fastest of the lot with 2 min. 56.0 sec., Kling being 0.1 sec. behind, followed by Herrmann at 2.sec. and Fangio at 2.7 sec. However, none of these times affected the grid position as they were slower than the previous day and on Sunday afternoon the front row saw Gonzalez, Fangio and Moss side by side, with Trintignant and Kling in row two, followed by Hawthorn, Herrmann and Wharton in the next row, Mantovani and Bucci in row four, Maglioli driving in place of Manzon in row live along with Mieres and Schell, and Behra, Wacker and Swaters bringing up the rear.
At the fall of the flag it was Fangio who went into the lead, and Kling, also profiting by having a five-speed gearbox, nipped through from row two and Moss tucked in behind him. By the end of the lap Fangio had got clear of the pack and Gonzalez and Moss were nose to tail some three seconds behind him, they being followed by Kling, Trintignant, Wharton, Behra, Hawthorn, Herrmann and the rest. Only Bucci failed to complete the first lap, he stopping shortly after half a lap. Fangio gained a few yards on the next lap but Moss was still breathing on the tail of Gonzalez' Ferrari, while Kling had run into the straw bales approaching the end of the lap and had dropped right to the back of the field, more than 30 seconds behind Swaters, who had already been left behind. There was no holding Fangio now and yard by yard he increased his lead, while Moss got past Gonzalez though there was still only a few feet between them. Hawthorn had made a hesitant opening lap and was running in company with Trintignant and Herrmann, but after five laps he began to put on speed and shook these two off, at the same time closing rapidly on Moss and Gonzalez, who were now six seconds behind Fangio. On the fourth lap Wharton spun and dropped almost to the back of the field and by lap eight, when Behra retired at the pits with no clutch, the race had divided into two parts. The first six were Fangio, in complete command of the race, Moss, Gonzalez, Hawthorn, Trintignant and Herrmann, after these there was already a long gap and then came Mantovani, Mieres, Wharton, making no ground on the two Maseratis in front of him, Schell, Maglioli and Kling, the Mercédès-Benz driver fairly eating his way through the tail-enders. Completely outclassed were Wacker and Swaters, who brought up the tail.
With the race having sorted itself out a bit, there now started an absolute spate of fastest laps, Fangio being first on lap nine in 2 min. 44.2 sec., then again on lap 11 in 2 min. 43.5 sec. On lap 12 it was Hawthorn with 2 min. 42.3 sec., and the following lap Gonzalez did 2 min. 42.0 sec. This brought Hawthorn closer to Gonzalez and by lap 15 he was almost alongside, actually passing him on the next lap, and the lap after that he passed Moss, getting his own back for the Silverstone incident. Meanwhile Kling had completed his job of working his way through the second half of the field and now set about reducing the gap between himself and Herrmann, and started this by setting a new fastest lap in 2 min. 41.8 sec.