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#61 1957 British Grand Prix

2021-04-19 00:00

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#61 1957 British Grand Prix

On Friday, July 12, 1957, in Reims, France, Juan Manuel Fangio bet with the organizers of the event one hundred bottles of champagne against a time th

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On Friday, July 12, 1957, in Reims, France, Juan Manuel Fangio bet with the organizers of the event one hundred bottles of champagne against a time that exceeded the average 200 km/h. Pulverizing all the records, Fangio on his Maserati wins the bet by turning to 209.141 km/ h average.A time that in Reims no one had ever realized. In the prologue to the Grand Prix of Reims, which will be held on Sunday, July 14, 1957 will be held two other important tests. The first will be the twelve hours, whose departure will be given tomorrow at midnight: race reserved for the special Gran Turismo category. The other race that will immediately precede the Grand Prix of speed, will be reserved for Formula 2 cars and will be held on the distance of 307 kilometers, equal to thirty-seven laps of the circuit. The start of this race will be at 2:00 p.m., and for the first time fifteen cars between Ferrari, Osca, Porsche and Cooper will join the race in this new formula. Formula 2, recently created, is destined to replace one day the current Formula 1, according to a not new practice, suggested by easily identifiable technical needs. This cadet formula limits the displacement of the engines to 1500 cubic centimeters, and several manufacturers, especially British, have long faced the construction of machines meeting the technical requirement required. In Italy, Ferrari has prepared a brilliant and light six-cylinder, already successfully tested at Posillipo. Just between Ferrari, entrusted to Maurice Trintignant, and the many English cars Cooper and Lotus will be tomorrow the first comparison in the Formula 2 field. The car from Modena is certainly the most powerful of the lot, but the British - and in particular the Cooper with rear engine - boast in the extreme lightness and good aerodynamic profiling their best qualities.

 

In the race also two Osca, with Maglioli and Cabianca; but the Bolognese vehicles are for now sports modified for the occasion. After the Grand Prix held on Sunday, July 7, 1957 in Rouen, where Fangio and Maserati put in another eight precious points for that 1957 world title that the North American drivers do not want to recognize in vain, follows the Grand Prix of Reims, interesting even if extraneous to the events for the maximum title. Saturday night, Juan Manuel Fangio, receives an offer of $6,590 to participate in the 1958 Indianapolis 500, advanced by Floyz Clymer, book publisher on motoring, as a consequence of the absence of Fangio and other great European riders from the 500 Miglia of Monza and the related controversies. Clymer specifies that he would give Fangio $500 upon registration, an additional $1,000 if he qualifies, and $2509 if he arrives in the top five in an American race car or another $5,000 if he arrives in the top five in a foreign race car. Clymer adds that he is ready to deposit the money in the bank that will be indicated to him by Fangio. The offer made to Fangio is interesting but there is to be noted that the Argentine ace has also received superior proposals to participate in European races to which he is accustomed. Clymer announced that he had paid $100 into a fund to cover the cost of bringing Fangio to the United States if he wanted to take up the challenge. As for Luigi Musso, the splendid race on Sunday at the French Grand Prix must have convinced him of what his real possibilities are. A great victory would be equivalent to the definitive consecration of the best of the Italian drivers, heir of a tradition that seemed truncated.

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In Reims, Saturday, July 13, 1957, at the Gueux circuit, just a few hours before the start of the first of the three races it rains heavily on the capital of Champagne, and the dark hood of the sky does not give hope for an improvement in the situation. At midnight forty-five cars start, of which eighteen Italians: twelve Alfette Giulietta-fast and six Ferrari. An important Italian participation, like perhaps never has been seen in a test of French regularity for cars gran turismo. However, it should be noted that the Reims races are certainly the best equipped in Europe, as a total of 100 million francs will be distributed among the winners of the individual races. The Alfa Romeo take off despite the reservations that their drivers had moved on the dubious regularity of the mechanical characteristics of the Lotus entered in the race: the fact that these types of cars were approved by the Royal Automobile Club of Great Britain, in the two categories sport and gran turismo, closed the dispute ultimately, but not even the sports stewards who dealt with the matter could have solved the situation without the sporting spirit and fair-play that on this occasion have demonstrated the Italians. However, the two Lotus were excluded from the race, just before the start, by the decision of the sports stewards. The reason for this decision is that the two cars showed up at their departure booths late. Two Alfa Romeos replaced them in the race.

 

In Formula 2, a race that will be held in prologue to the Formula 1 Grand Prix by twenty-one competitors, only the Ferrari driven by Trintignant and the Osca driven by Umberto Maglioli will be at the start to counter the victory to the Lotus and Cooper English. A coalition, that is, very difficult to beat. Despite the undoubted sporting interest of the first two races, the main attraction of this weekend’s Reims motorsport remains the Formula 1 Grand Prix, both for the tone of revenge that will be given to the race from the beaten of Rouen, Ferrari and Vanwall, both because the speed achieved in training by the prestigious drivers who will be the protagonists, let predict a severe and ardent battle. For Manuel Fangio, a favourite of obligation, the task will not be easy, which even tomorrow the Argentine will find on his way, besides the British Collins and Hawthorn and the French Behra, also Luigi Musso. The Roman driver, who in Rouen has surprised by the skill and authority he had demonstrated, is in great shape. Sunday, July 14, 1957, in the race of Formula 2, as soon as the mossiere lowers the flag, at 2:00 p.m. the bolidi are launched with angry impetuosity to conquer the leading positions. It is in full swing this initial phase of the competition, when on the second lap the Cooper driven by Whitehouse has suddenly, and in the middle of the straight, a scary spin, after a tire burst also as a result of the torrid heat. The driver tries in vain to correct with the steering the deviation of his Cooper, but at an impressive speed runs over the barrier of protection and overturns, falling back into a huge blaze. They will tell later some witnesses:

 

"A roar was heard, frightening and one had the impression that an atomic missile had exploded".

 
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Whitehouse is thrown out of the cockpit and falls into the meadow flanking the circuit, among the burning wreckage. As luck would have it, it was at that very point and at that precise moment that a helicopter was making some changes on board which there is a film operator. Realizing the disaster, the pilot maneuvers in order to land with great precision almost next to the body of the poor English pilot. Whitehouse writhes and compresses his chest, while his face is disfigured by a terrible burn. Picked up by some gendarmes, he is loaded on the same helicopter that immediately after, getting up in the air, goes to the main hospital of Reims. It is perhaps the first case in which the modern airplane was used to rescue a racer motorist, but unfortunately not even so much timeliness could avert the cruel fate. At the hospital the doctors realize that the case is desperate, and then suggest to the executives of the car manufacturer Cooper to call next to the driver’s bedside his wife, a very young lady, who remained in Paris. She was notified by phone and with a car, in less than two hours, she reached the hospital in Reims just in time to witness the passing of her husband. Meanwhile the race continues and is already coming to an end when there is a second disaster. The victim, this time, was the American Herbert Mackay-Fraser, who has been living in Great Britain for many years. While facing the Di-Muizen curve, where a year before the brave motorist Annie Bousquet died, Fraser has the misfortune of ending up on an oil slick.

 

The driver loses control of the car and crashes into the barrier, suffering serious injuries. Mackay-Fraser is immediately rescued and transported to the hospital, the same in which poor Whitehouse now lies. However, every attempt at rescue will be in vain: Fraser dies without regaining consciousness, even before the surgeons subjected him to surgery. In the grandstand of the circuit of Reims his wife is present; at first she is told that her husband had suffered minor injuries, but at the hospital she learns the truth and collapses to the ground unconscious. When she regains consciousness, Whitehouse’s wife is next to her. So two drivers who dedicated themselves to motoring for pure passion decease. Whitehouse, owner of a garage in London, and Fraser, owner of a Brazilian coffee import company. For both cases we can speak of dramatic fatality. The sporting skills of the two victims were out of the question. Whitehouse, in particular, was considered a driver of sure future, so much so that last Sunday, in Rouen, he was entrusted with a B.R.M. On the circuit of Reims, which is the fastest in the world, excluding the tracks of Monza and Indianapolis, machines can run almost without interruption at the limit of their speed. On the straights these 1500 reach very high speeds, and it is clear that when we talk about more than sixty meters per second the danger is permanent. With the current level of car technology, the reduction in engine capacity that many people want is not enough to keep speeds within relative safety limits. The Champagne motor weekend ends with a triumph of the Italian industry.

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Ferrari wins with clear superiority all three different tests of the French meeting: the 12 Hours for touring cars with the Belgian pair Gendebien-Frère, the race for cars of the new Formula 2 with Maurice Trintignant, and that of Formula 1 - which is the highlight of Sunday - thanks to Luigi Musso. In just 12 Hours the success of Ferrari was taken for granted, given the recognized superiority of the cars of Maranello against the world production of the same category. More cautious predictions were made for the Formula 2 test, where the only Ferrari entered was facing a powerful coalition of English cars Cooper and Lotus: hard fight and success of the new six cylinder modenese thanks to its superior qualities of tightness. As for Formula 1, it was a long time that the name of an Italian driver no longer appeared at the top of the list of a car race. Practically since Alberto Ascari disappeared. To break this long series is Luigi Musso. It was said that the beautiful tradition of world-famous Italian drivers had now exhausted, even because of the series of accidents that had stopped Ascari and Castellotti. Now the Roman rider has shown that there is a continuity of this tradition, and if you take into account that Fangio is now towards the end of his glorious career, that Moss has repeatedly expressed intentions of withdrawal, that Collins seems, after the wedding, Less willing to dare, we can conclude that if a bit of luck will assist Musso, the title of World Champion, which was already Farina and Ascari, can be his starting next season. Unless some other Englishman comes out of the thriving nursery across the Channel.

 

The victory of Luigi Musso in the International Cup of Reims has in the first place this meaning of renewed confidence in the Italian riders. Reims will remain memorable for marking a complete triumph for Ferrari in all three races of the day. In addition to Musso and the Belgian pair Gendebien-Frère, the French Maurice Trintignant, at the wheel of the new six-cylinder 1500 built in the workshops of Maranello, has established himself in the race for Formula 2 cars. Trintignant was the only defender of Ferrari against a cloud of English Cooper and Lotus, and he had to fight hard before he could have reason of Salvadori and Brabham. Ferrari has thus managed to erase with three strokes of sponge the memory of the unfortunate tests of this season. Particularly important was the victory in the Formula 1 race, where until now  had dominated the Maserati of Fangio. Back to compete on a race track uniquely favorable to their speed possibilities, the Ferrari eight cylinders have proved to be always machines of enormous resources, even if the only car of Musso has arrived at the bottom. The Maserati remained in the shadows, however, although Behra, after Fangio’s retirement, managed to overtake in the final the surprising Lewis-Evans on Vanwall, finishing in second place. It must be acknowledged that the Vanwall has once again proved to be extremely dangerous for Italian cars. It’s missed once again at the distance the beautiful English car, but that has many horses is undoubted. We must keep in mind that Vandervell’s team is missing on this occasion both Moss and Brooks, and that the young Lewis-Evans certainly has great skills, but lacks experience and for now can not boast the class of a Fangio or a Musso or a Behra.

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The threat, in short, continues to come across the Channel. Only six days later, on 20 July 1957, the British Grand Prix will be held, which this year is also counted as the European Grand Prix, the fifth round of the eight scheduled in the calendar, valid for the Formula 1 World Championship, thus kicking off the second half of the season. The race will take place at the Aintree circuit, near Liverpool, which returns to host a Formula 1 race after a year of stop due to the traditional alternation with the Silverstone circuit. In the 1955 edition the local idol Stirling Moss took his first career victory right here in Aintree, inflaming the English cheering that, also for this year, hopes for another first time: The first victory of a British team; In fact, during the years 1956 and 1957 the growth of the English school was exponential, with a large presence of driver on the grid and increasingly competitive teams that are very close to asserting their ambitions. The time seems ripe for the big event also because in the World Championship Sports cars Aston Martin and Jaguar have already made the big voice winning respectively the 1000 Kilometers of the Nürburgring and the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Formula 1 Championship, however, seems already filed: Juan Manuel Fangio is started to his fifth personal title after taking three first places out of four races. The only race not won by the Argentine was the Indianapolis 500, which traditionally represents an anomaly in the world calendar with the participation of only American drivers. Unlike the previous event, held in France, all the main riders who recovered from minor injuries return: the most anticipated are the Vanwall drivers.

 

The English team recovers Brooks and Moss, who will support Lewis-Evans, and provides all three drivers with new cars to aim for maximum performance. For the tests is also used a fourth single-seater, the one still intact that was Salvadori's and used in Rouen. Maserati, to maintain the advantage over the competition, brings four 250F for its bishops Fangio, Behra, Schell and Menditeguy. The latter uses a single-seater type Spa 1956, with a heavier chassis and ducted radiator, while the owners can have a car with a lightened chassis, steering box mounted on the chassis rather than on the engine, and improved brakes. Maserati decided not to bring the experimental engine from twelve cylinders, keeping the classic six-cylinder configuration in line. In Ferrari, Collins, Hawthorn and Musso have at their disposal a Ferrari 801 with Siracusa-type bodywork, while the Frenchman Maurice Trintignant uses one with a spiral front suspension of the Super Squalo. This single-seater is the first of the modified D50 and still has the Lancia chassis, while the other three cars are Ferrari one hundred percent, with the chassis tubes with a larger section than the Turin single-seater from which it derives. The other official teams, but with little chance of success, are the British B.R.M. and Cooper. The British Racing Motors, compared to the Rouen race, brings updates to the rear suspension while Cooper participates in the home race with three cars of different ownership: Salvadori drives the official T43, Jack Brabham is the bishop of the RRC Walker Racing Team aboard the other Copper T43 while the privatist Bob Gerard entrusts his hopes to Cooper Special, a normal Formula 2 built and modified by the same driver. Last but not least, the other three privatists who all choose the Maserati 250F; the runners are Bonnier, Bueb and Gould. Thursday 18 July 1957 begins the first day of testing.

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The Vanwall team fields three fresh cars for the race, such is the well-prepared state of the Acton Workshops, and during practice they use the car Salvadori has driven at Reims. It returns from France untouched and does a considerable amount of practice, which says a great deal for the Vanwall engine reliability. All three cars on race day are the normal long-nosed Vanwalls that we now all know so well. Collins, Hawthorn and Musso drove 1957 Lancia-Ferraris, with the Syracuse narrow type of bodywork, with expose exhaust pipes, and Trintignant drives one of the cars fit with the Super Squalo Ferrari front-suspension wishbones and coil-springs this being the first of these modify cars which still uses an original Lancia D50 chassis frame. The other three cars all has Ferrari-built chassis frames, with larger diameter bottom rail tubes in place of the Lancia side-by-side double-tube bottom rails. Mechanically the V8 engines are unchanged, and are still running on Solex double-choke carburetters. Maserati do not bother to bring any 12-cylinder cars, and Fangio, Behra and Schell each drive a 1957 six-cylinder car, with the lightweight chassis frame, steering-box mounts on the chassis instead of on the engine, as last year, and with the wide cross-ribbed front brakes. Menditeguy drives the 1956 Spa model with ducted radiator and old-type heavier chassis. The two B.R.M.s are as run at Rouen, with coil-spring suspension all round, but the rear universals are of a new type that seems to have overcome the tendency to seizure that is prevalent in the past. Salvadori drives the works Cooper with 1.9-litre Coventry-Climax engine, and Brabham drives Rob Walker’s car with similar power unit, both cars being fit with disc brakes. Gerard’s Cooper Special, built by himself, is a normal Formula II Cooper with the centre chassis cross-member move forward to make room for the Bristol engine, and the rear of the frame altered to lower the Cooper-Citroen gearbox in order to line up with the Bristol crankshaft.

 

The engine is the 69.1 mm. by 100 mm. - 2.250 c.c. - unit uses by Gerard in his earlier Cooper-Bristol. It is using a six-port head and three double-choke carburetters. The six exhaust pipes protrud upwards through the engine cowling, reminiscent of the early Auto-Unions. A gloomy and unwelcome climate accommodates drivers to the garages. To accentuate the gloomy climate is added a technical problem to the Aintree loudspeakers system, which does not allow timekeepers to do live reporting by reporting to the public on the stands the necessary information, as well as not being able to fill the moments of stalemate with background music as is customary in continental racetracks. In addition, the countryside and factories around Liverpool are a non-helpful landscape contour to create a more inviting environment. However, the riders do not seem to be distracted by these factors and all, except for the private Bonnier and Gerard, tread the track. The conditions are not ideal, of course, but it is an excellent opportunity for the various teams to do tests and experiments with the various internal drivers who test all the cars and help the companions to find the most suitable set-up to face the race. Vanwall drivers, the first to get into action to dictate the pace, swap cars, so Moss has the opportunity to test all three cars lined up, getting his best time with the car assigned to Brooks and beating Lewis-Evans in his own car. Tony Brooks, slightly behind schedule compared to his team-mates, is still satisfied with his newfound confidence in driving after the small Le Mans injury. The British team also tests the Dunlop tyres, comparing them with the Pirelli of which it is usually equipped, due to the imminent withdrawal of the Italian company from the racing world. Another sign of the changing times. Finding and recovering the wheels produced by the Milanese company is becoming increasingly complicated and expensive, and to suffer this situation is mainly the Maserati, despite the reassuring advantage in the general ranking.

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It’s curious what happens inside the Scuderia Ferrari, with Behra beating Fangio in the 250F number 2 assigned to the Argentine, while the reigning World Champion gets his best time at the wheel of the single-seater entrusted to the Frenchman. Ferrari also decided to mix drivers and cars in search of the best performance, but Luigi Musso did not agree with this strategy and decided not to share his car with his team mates. Quite randomly it turns out that the fastest Ferrari is Trintignant’s and it is decided during the course of the work to make an exchange of drivers: the Frenchman’s car is given to Mike Hawthorn, while the Frenchman will sit in the 801 originally delivered to the English driver. Net of internal skirmishes and sudden program changes none of Ferrari seems to keep pace with the main rivals: in fact, the best time is recorded by Behra in 2'04"0, equal to the record recorded by Stirling Moss in 1955. Fangio is following in 2'06"0, which precedes by four tenths the local idol Moss. To report the excellent work of the British timekeepers who manage to correctly note all the times scored by the drivers despite the various internal car changes, thus extinguishing in the bud any ranking controversy related to the correct allocation of time recorded by the runners. Behind the B.R.M. that, in addition to testing a new type of tyre Dunlop, must take into account in the normal period of adaptation by the drivers; in fact, both Fairman and Leston are at the debut on this car. The day ends with a storm, which however does not extinguish the enthusiasm of those present at Aintree.

 

Mechanics and drivers find a completely different climate on Friday, July 19, 1957, with sun and dry track to characterize the day, even if a pungent wind blows just in the opposite direction to the straight, disturbing the riders in the hunt for the best time. Vanwall and Maserati are still the protagonists, confirming that they have something more than rivals and playing the role of favorites for success. The circuit enhances the cars with neutral and well balanced behavior. Seeing the Maserati slide in a controlled manner at the exit of the curves is simply spectacular, with the bishops of the House of Modena who can download the full power of the six cylinders in a relatively simple way, despite the rear axle almost never aligned with the rest of the car. The Vanwalls also performed very well, compensating for a slight pain in the mixed section with more power on the straight. In addition, Stirling Moss has a new car, while the one used in the previous day is held as a reserve in the pits. More difficult Ferrari, which experience understeer problems forcing the drivers to modulate the gas when exiting the curve, in order to avoid a loss of control of the front. As a result, runners need to cut power in order to maintain the ideal trajectory. A similar headache also happens to the drivers of the B.R.M. but it is interesting to analyze how the two bishops face the problem in a different way: Fairman runs the curves at constant gas, while Leston from three or four throttle strokes not to waste too much time. To complicate the situation are the problems encountered at the braking system; however, the internal challenge is won by Leston.

 

The configuration of the track does not favor the small Cooper, with Salvadori and Brabham in the most backward positions. During the session the drivers have to face an additional disruptive factor. In fact, on the track there is an Aston Martin DB3S that transports an operator with a camera to capture images and videos directly from the field. Although the Sport car is doing its best not to hinder the riders, the disturbance to the action is evident because the drivers drive in a more prudent and cautious,way, also deceived by the white flag waved by Aston Martin, and that usually indicates the presence of an ambulance. In the afternoon Brooks equals the time recorded by Behra, while Moss signs the best time in 2'02, which are worth pole position and speed record. Rivals Behra, Fangio, Collins and Hawthorn attempted the assault on the Vanwall Greens but were unsuccessful. This is the first row: Moss, Behra, Brooks; in the second row, surprisingly, there is a slightly subdued Fangio and the first Ferrari, that of Mike Hawthorn. To tell the story, the Master of Balcarce this weekend suffers from small physical ailments, but always amazes to see him only in the second row despite being only four tenths from Moss. Sixth, seventh and eighth place on the grid for Lewis-Evans, Schell and Collins respectively driving Vanwall, Maserati and Ferrari; fourth row all of Ferrari, with Trintignant and Musso occupying the ninth and tenth place. Among the privatists is remarkable the performance of Gould, who gets the fifteenth position preceding even the officer Fairman on B.R.M. Bueb closes the group, nineteenth, more than fifteen seconds from the first place.

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Saturday, July 20, 1957, in the morning rain and wind are the real protagonists that portend to a wet and complicated race along the lines of the test Thursday. However, just before the start of the race the rain stops, and the wind does its duty by blowing on the circuit and drying the track. At 2:00 p.m., the estimated time of departure, the conditions can be considered good. In the morning a race for Sport cars was the starter for the great event of the day but in the seventeen laps there were few emotions with the easy victory of Scott-Brown over Lister-Jaguar, ahead of Salvadori (Aston-Martin) and Hamilton (Jaguar). Even before the start the great Gould is forced to miss the participation in the race because, in an attempt to help Gerard to put out a small fire to the engine of his Cooper, injured a foot. There will be eighteen drivers at the start, on the nineteen members. Aintree, semi-permanent circuit, is 4,828 meters long and is built inside the city racecourse. Quite fast track, with eight total curves, stands out for two straights, connected by a mixed section where the Country Loop curve is located. The direction of travel is counterclockwise. Some riders criticize the general flatness, without the ups and downs that exalt the most talented riders, and the strong smell of factory, located nearby. It will be covered ninety times before deciding the winner.

 

In the front row stands the red Maserati of Behra surrounded by the two green Vanwall. This time the Frenchman has no hesitation, and at the moment of departure his shot is lightning fast. Behra leaps to the lead before the Waterway corner. But already during the first lap Moss resumed the head, and the first round saw the main protagonists arrive in this order: Moss, Behra, Brooks, Hawthorn, Collins, Schell, Musso and Fangio, dropped to eighth position. Since the early stages Stirling Moss tries to implement the escape to distance Behra, and to do so immediately imposes an important pace to the race, but the Frenchman does not give up, following the trail of the British ace. More exciting is the fight for the third position, where a convalescent Brooks gets passed to the lap two by Hawthorn on Ferrari. The duel between the two English drivers is exciting: the bishop of the Prancing Horse attacks the curves aggressively to gain precious meters and tenths, which inevitably loses in the straight when the superiority of the Vanwall of Brooks becomes evident. At the fifth round, however, the same Tony Brooks understands that his leg, still in recovery, can not hold this pace for another eighty-five laps and begins an inevitable but inexorable slowdown. This allows Mike Hawthorn on Ferrari to think only about the attack phase, with the aim of reaching Behra. At the moment we have a Vanwall, a Maserati and a Ferrari in the first three squares, and two of these cars are driven by British drivers, followed by Brooks and Collins, fourth and fifth respectively on Vanwall and Ferrari.  For the local public it looks like a great day.

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The top ten group, except for Moss on the run, is quite compact but you can see the unusually slow pace of the Maserati, with Fangio and Schell losing positions coming down to eighth and ninth place in favor of Musso and the excellent Lewis-Evans, sixth and seventh, with the English party in eleventh position. In the back group Leston is up against the Coopers, while the later his partner Fairman is at the mercy of private, accomplice a trip on the grass. On lap 10, Moss led the group with seven and a half seconds ahead of Behra, while Musso overtook Brooks and was fifth. However, the joy for the Roman driver only lasts one lap because at the next lap he drops to eighth position, due to an uncertainty in the curve. Five drivers out of the top six in the standings are now born in the United Kingdom, three green cars and Moss' escape already seems unstoppable, when on lap twenty-two a twist holds the audience in suspense. There are moments of tension and anguish in the Vanwall pits when the leader Stirling Moss begins to be the victim of trouble at the engine, despite having a new car available. The mechanics try a quick repair and restart the British driver, in vain: on the next lap Moss is still in the pits, he starts again but now he is in sixteenth and penultimate position, because on the eighteenth lap Bonnier had retired because of the transmission. Given the situation, the English team decided to stop Brooks to entrust the car number twenty to Moss. Tony Brooks willingly accepts the stop, so he can rest his leg still sore continuing the race on the car of his teammate, without the need to force the pace over the due. Moss' comeback is quite different: the English driver is furious for the unfortunate episode of which he was a victim, and launches himself into a powerful comeback from ninth position to the sound of fast laps.

 

In the rear are the Cooper that, after getting rid of the B.R.M., go to the attack of Ferrari, with Salvadori overtaking Trintignant. On lap 35, Menditeguy left the race due to transmission problems in his Maserati, while Moss passed Fangio without hesitation. Behra is firmly in the lead, but it is clear that the Maserati men are concerned about Moss’s pace at the wheel of Tony Brooks' Vanwall. Collins, fourth on Ferrari, begins to feel the small problems coming from the car and is immediately hunted by Lewis-Evans who was maintaining a solid and constant rhythm, giving the idea of being in management. Two more laps pass and Collins loses the third place in favor of Lewis-Evans, while the 39th lap is the second retirement at Maserati: Schell leaves with the engine boiling. Just before the half of the race also Leston stops for a similar problem. Halfway through the distance this is the ranking: Behra first with nine seconds of advantage over Hawthorn, and to follow Lewis-Evans third, twenty seconds from the Ferrari driver. Then fourth Collins, fifth Moss already in the points, followed by Musso, Fangio and a surprising Salvadori. The race begins to be selective, and in a few laps are three riders who leave the scene all because of boredom to the engine, including Fairman on lap forty-sixth, Fangio on lap forty-ninth and Brooks, who in the meantime had risen to eleventh position, which stops during the fifty-first lap. For the Argentine World Champion this is a setback that hurts more the mood than the general classification; however, today the ace of Balcarce, never protagonist of the Grand Prix, nothing could against the poor competitiveness of his Maserati 250F.

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In this phase there are eleven drivers left in the race on the eighteen starters; there is still much to finish, but the data indicates how the Aintree track puts a strain on the mechanical means. Collins adds, in spite of himself, to the list of drivers who do not finish the Grand Prix: to betray him is a hose, which causes a loss of water during the fifty-third lap. With the Englishman stopped at the pits, the mechanics of Ferrari recall Trintignant, to entrust the car number sixteen to the English rider. Collins returned to the track, but after only three laps he returned to the pits, returning the 801 to his teammate because he was not satisfied with the car’s behaviour. Moss continues to lead the race pace, continually scoring record laps, but Behra responds blow by blow: the two are spaced by three positions and forty-five seconds, but it is clear that they are the contenders for victory and the protagonists of the race. Hawthorn second, keeps his pace but inevitably loses contact with the head of the race. During the sixty-sixth lap, with a time of 1'59"2 Stirling Moss marks a new record that gives him the extra point: he is still fourth in the standings behind teammate Lewis-Evans but now the two Vanwalls are putting pressure on Ferrari in second place, that of Hawthorn. The fifth driver, Musso, is already voiced by the leader of the standings Behra who has a lead of twenty-two seconds over the pursuers. The race, despite being in its third final run, still gives emotions and the round number sixty-nine is decisive to determine the development of the race because everything happens. Just as Moss grabs the third position against teammate Lewis-Evans, Behra, firmly in the lead, breaks the clutch and is forced to raise the white flag.

 

Hawthorn, passing on the debris left on the track by Maserati number four, punctures the left rear wheel and consequently slows down to reach his mechanics at the garage and repair the car. As a result the two Vanwalls jumped to the lead with Moss again record holder, third Musso to over a lap behind, fourth Hawthorn after replacing the wheel, fifth a surprising Salvadori on the small Copper with rear engine. The audience is ecstatic and greets the leading duo with enthusiasm and applause, dreaming of a first British double. On the seventy-third lap dreams are abruptly interrupted: Lewis-Evans encounters a problem never seen before. The connection wire of the accelerator is ruined, and the English driver is forced to lose positions on positions by sliding to the last place. Not initially understanding the cause of the problem, Vanwall recalled Moss to the pits for an additional refill of gasoline. This action reduces Musso’s gap, but the first place remains well established with a margin of forty seconds. All those present, mechanics and fans, cross their fingers, hope and pray that the Vanwall number twenty driven by Moss does not make a fuss in these last stages. On the next lap Brabham also stops because of the malfunction of the clutch, so that the drivers on the track remain only eight. Lewis-Evans starts again at the eightieth lap, last and without hope of catching anyone, while Salvadori remains without gasoline two rounds later. The excellent performance of the English driver is further damaged by the broken gearbox; however, Salvadori somehow reaches the finish line and parks the car, waiting to push it over the finish line as soon as the checkered flag is waved.

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After over three hours and ninety laps, Stirling Moss on Vanwall crosses the finish line first, and the party can explode leaving the usual English aplomb. It almost seems to be in Italy, at events like the Targa Florio or Monza, which are usually stormed by fans.Second place for Musso on Ferrari, more than twenty-five seconds behind, third team-mate Mike Hawthorn, the only riders full laps. In fourth place is Trintignant, who has risen to the top positions but does not divide the points gained with Collins because the latter has driven too few laps on 801 number sixteen. Fifth, most deservedly, Salvadori on Cooper-Climax. The triumph of the Brooks-Moss couple, over Vanwall, is the victory especially of Tony Vandervell, founder of the team, able in a few years to give birth to strong, competitive and now winning cars. For British motoring this represents a success pursued since 1948 but that for a year seemed imminent, thanks to the great growth in performance of green cars. Net of a negative day of major rivals like Fangio and Maserati, and some really unlucky episodes like the puncture of a tire on the car of Hawthorn, the success is totally deserved and the fact that it is shared by two British drivers and icons of the automobile movement, two riders just returned from two minor injuries, adds a touch of romance to this sports fairy tale.

 

Halfway through the season we wonder how much the English car can still grow, how many victories can take from here to the end of the 1957 vintage and, why not, see if he can fight for the title, even if the advantage accumulated by Fangio seems unbridgeable. At Maserati, despite the four cars withdrawn, you can breathe a sigh of relief: Juan Manuel Fangio remains firmly in the lead of the standings with twenty-five points, twelve more than the second rider who is Luigi Musso. On the other hand, the continuous breakdowns for the Maserati cars are worrying, often hidden by the skill of the Argentine driver who has always managed to limit the damage during the season. Ferrari seemed subdued, but with two cars on the podium: the 801 proved to be less fast than the competitors but more reliable, and therefore manages to capture important points. Some small internal skirmishes such as those that took place in practice with Musso, and in the race with Collins, who put personal interests before the good of the Scuderia di Maranello, need to be revised. More and more interesting is the performance of the small Cooper-Climax with rear engine that is growing exponentially, gaining the positions of recoil and proving to be able to play it with the Italian teams, when they are not fit. While in Great Britain the Grand Prix takes place, from Modena Enzo Ferrari writes a new letter to his journalist friend Gino Rancati, to whom he confesses yet another loss in a very short time:

 

"Dear Rancati, thank you for your letter. I would very much regret not knowing you on the way to complete recovery. Patience, perseverance are needed and faith if she has the gift of believing. Write to me and tell me everything. An unfortunate news I owe: Don Giulio is gone. Our dear priest Baro is gone in two, three days for a sudden hepatic intestinal intoxication. The heat, the food, the wine, the smoke were right of his constitution. Poor Don Giulio; while passing he talked about cards, cheating and money. It’s yet another sad episode in my life of hallucinatory events. Best wishes".

 

So the priest friend with whom Ferrari spoke of the mysteries of faith with the same intensity with which they played cards, passes away. A further major loss.

 

Luca Saitta

 

Translated by Aurora Ricci

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