“Sometimes you have to do what you are capable of doing. But there are occasions when circumstances force one to commit some excesses ”. Those were the words that he used Juan Manuel Fangio when in an interview he was asked to recall that victory achieved on August 4st, 1957 at German Grand Prix de F1. It is that that day El Chueco defeated the English with pure talent Peter Collins y Mike hawthorn, Ferrari, and the fearsome circuit of Nurburgring, where he had already won in 1954 and 1956.
But why was that success so important and why is that race still considered the best in F.1 history today? Simply by the way El Chueco handled his Maserati 250F to win on one of the most difficult and demanding tracks in the world.
Undoubtedly, that triumph he achieved in the 22-kilometer route did nothing but elevate Fangio to the status of legend, something that time was in charge of strengthening with a record of five titles that was only beaten in the XNUMXst century by the German Michael Schumacher.
Averaging the competition, the Argentine rolled in the lead and was more than half a minute ahead of the Ferraris. That difference was necessary to beat the Scuderia drivers. It is that the Maserati had to carry out a mandatory tire change to cover the 500 kilometers of the route of the sixth date of the tournament, something that the Maranello vehicles had no need to do because they used a harder compound.
But that tactic that seemed winning and that he had devised Guerino Bertocchi, Maserati crew chief, vanished with a clumsy wheel change. “In the pits I lost a lot of time. The guys got nervous changing my rear tires. When I stopped in the box I was 30 seconds ahead and when I got back on the track I was 48 seconds behind the Ferraris. And on the next lap I lost two seconds and I was 51. So I thought I was not going to win the race "...
With Fangio behind, Collins became the new leader on lap 12 followed by Hawthorn, who two laps later came forward and left his teammate as his squire. When the leaders went through the pits to complete the 16th round, their team ordered them to slow down to ensure the victory without punishing the tires too much. With few laps to go to the checkered flag, Ferrari thought that Fangio was still far away to put the celebration at risk.
But Fangio demanded of his machine and himself at a level never seen before. She set three consecutive lap records and on lap 17 she was 25 seconds behind the Ferraris. At that moment more than one thought of that phrase he had said Stirling Moss, one of his rivals. “When you race against Fangio you never know what might happen. He is a driver who can win a race with a two-minute deficit ”. The German circuit, where dexterity and fine handling made the difference, was the place for such a feat. And on lap 20, Fangio was already glued to the Maranello cars ...
The Argentine had achieved what seemed impossible. In eight laps he had deducted 45 seconds from the two Ferraris and was within reach of that decisive victory that would allow him to achieve his fifth crown. The Per people present on the German circuit did not leave their amazement at the tremendous performance of the Balcarceño. They knew it was only a matter of time before he surpassed Hawthorn and Collins and claimed victory and so it was ...
That race was followed by two others on the Italian circuits of Pescara y Monza. And with the two second places achieved, the Argentine put an end to the season. In July 1958, after finishing 4th in the French GP at Reims, Fangio ended his brilliant Formula 1 campaign, which included five titles, 24 victories, 29 pole positions, 23 lap records and 35 podiums.
When remembering his triumphs, the Quintuple always put the one achieved at the Nürburgring in 1957 on the highest step. And he used to summarize the reasons with this phrase: "I had never driven that way, but I also understood that I would never do it again ... Never!"
RACE (22 laps)
1. Juan Manuel Fangio (ARG / Maserati), 3h30m38s8 / 10
2. Mike Hawthorn (ING / Ferrari) to 3s1
3. Peter Collins (ING / Ferrari) at 35s1
4. Luigi Musso (ITA / Ferrari) at 3m37s1
5. Stirling Moss (ING / Vanwall) at 4m37s0
6. Jean Behra (FRA / Maserati) at 4m38s0
7. Harry Schell (USA / Maserati) at 6m47s0
8. Masten Gregory (USA / Maserati) 1 round.
9. Tony Brooks (ING / Vanwall) 1 round.
10. Giorgio Scarlatti (ITA / Maserati) 1 round.
AVERAGE: 142,937 km / h. LAP RECORD: Fangio, in the 20th, in 9m17s4 / 10 at 147,320 km / h. LEADERS: Hawthorn, from rounds 1 to 2; Fangio, from 3 to 11; Collins, 12-14; Hawthorn, 15-20; Fangio, from 21 to 22.