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The Year: 1957

Juan Manuel Fangio sets an incredible record and becomes a legend at Nurburgring. At the German track, the Argentine races like he never did and clinches his fifth and final World Championship.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Once again the championship began in Argentina, and it included eight rounds, with the novelty of the Grand Prix of Pescara, Italy.

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New changes in the grid generated the expectation necessary to make this an exciting year. Juan Manuel Fangio, who was 47 years, would be in his last season in charge of a Maserati having ceased its relationship with Ferrari, which has always been tense and complicated.

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The house of Maranello counted now with the services of a formidable pair: Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorn, the latter who got tired of waiting for a British project that would allow him to battle for the title. Another brilliant British, Stirling Moss, went to the promising British firm Vanwall.

The season always offered entertainment and exciting races. The Grand Prix of Great Britain provided one of the most impressive performances by Stirling Moss. The Vanwall of Moss and Tony Brooks started from the front row, Moss managed to get away and lead the race until a failure on lap 21 forced him to stop in the pits. Then, Brooks also stopped in the pits and sportingly handed his car to Moss, who rejoined ninth a started an epic comeback (helped a bit by few dropouts) that culminated with a great victory, the first for a British manufacturer, Vanwall.

Collins, Fangio and Hawthorne in Nurburgring.

LAT Photographic

The truth is that Maserati and Fangio was the best combination, the Argentine won four races, finished second twice and withdrew only once, precisely at the British Grand Prix: certainly, total domination. Ferrari did not obtain a single victory.

A Leyend is Made: Fangio at Nurburgring

For many, the ’57 German Grand Prix was one of the best races in the history of Formula 1. Mathematically, Fangio was able be crowned champion in this event and he did so.

Starting in the front row alongside the Ferrari of Hawthorn and Collins, the argentine took the lead chased not far away by both, but separating slowly from them. A is extremely slow pit stop, allowed the Ferrari to overtake Fangio, who rejoined in third place 48 seconds behind Collins who was running second. Fangio began his most famous comeback, by breaking the record for the fastest lap nine times in 11 laps (the race was 22 laps), and it was not until the last one when he spotted the British.

Collins was his first victim at the beginning of lap 21. The story tells that they were approaching a bridge so narrow that it was thought there was not room for both, seeing Fangio so committed to make it; the brit backed off allowing him to pass. Then, towards the end of the lap, Fangio went for another risky maneuver when he passed Hawthorne on the inside of a curve on two wheels, the brit fought back and tried to overtake Fangio several times with no success, thus the argentine finished first and made himself world champion for the fourth consecutive time and fifth overall.

Afterwards, Fangio confessed that he had never driven so fast in his life, and that he will not do it again.

It is important to mention that Cooper-Climax introduced the first car with the engine located at the rear of the car, it was not only perceived as awkward looking, but also weak, since it was smaller. Logically this chassis format was seen with reservation despite the good results obtained. Eventually, It would become the standard for manufacturers.

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