1957 German Grand Prix
The 1957 German Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 4 August 1957 at Nürburgring. It was race 6 of 8 in the 1957 World Championship of Drivers. The 22 lap race was won by Juan Manuel Fangio, and is often cited as one of the greatest victories in racing history. Fangio's 4th victory out of 7 mainly contested races in the season (excluding the Indianapolis 500), plus with the amount of points he had in the season (34 to
Luigi Musso's 16) and with 2 races left, his victory at the Nürburgring won him his 5th World Championship title.
Fangio had taken notice of the tire and fuel-level selection of the Ferrari drivers, and realized they were probably going to run the entire race without a pit stop. Fangio decided he would use softer tyres, and only a half tank of fuel. This would allow the car to take corners faster, but also require a pit stop. Fangio took his pit stop on lap 13, in first place, and 30 seconds ahead of Hawthorn and Collins.
The pit stop was a disaster; the mechanic removing the rear left wheel let the wheel nut roll under the car without noticing, and finding it took nearly half a minute. Fangio left the pit lane in third place, and 48 seconds behind Collins who was in second place. But in his Maserati 250F he began to mount a charge. Over the next 10 laps, Fangio broke and rebroke the lap record 9 times (7 of the records were in successive laps) and he took 15.5 seconds off Hawthorn's lead in the first lap, then another 8.5 seconds in the next lap. Early in the 21st lap, Fangio went on the inside of the left corner at the ESSO Terrasse taking second place from Collins. Late in the 21st lap, during a left corner, Fangio cut past Hawthorn on the inside of the corner, with only his right tyres on the track and his left tyres on the grass. This probably took place at the left-right combination before the Breidsheid bridge, as Fangio said it was at a 90º left followed by an also tight right just before Breidsheid and Hawthorn recollected being overtaken at a right turning bend. Fangio probably overtook Hawthorn in the left turn and then closed the door going to the right turn, thus boxing Hawthorn in. Fangio maintained his lead, but not easily, as Hawthorn fought back, nearly overtaking Fangio at a few corners, but to no avail, and Fangio won the race.
After the race, Fangio commented, "I have never driven that quickly before in my life and I don't think I will ever be able to do it again". Later on, Fangio was also quoted as saying: "Nürburgring was my favourite track. I fell totally in love with it and I believe that on that day in 1957 I finally managed to master it. It was as if I had screwed all the secrets out of it and got to know it once and for all. . . For two days I couldn't sleep, still making those leaps in the dark on those curves where I had never before had the courage to push things so far."
To increase participation, the organizers opened the field to Formula 2 cars. The two races were run at the same time but the Formula 2 entries (shown in yellow) were not eligible for World Championship points and some sources don't consider these starts in career stats.