July 17, 2014 marks the 19th anniversary of the passing of Juan Manuel Fangio who lived to be a healthy 84 years old.
It was his final race win at the Nurburgring on August 4, 1957, where Fangio scored his fifth and final Formula 1 World Championship victory, that really etched the Argentine’s name into the record books.
Four-time champion Fangio started from pole position for the 22 lap, 311 mile race on the famed Nurburgring circuit, but it was British driver Mike Hawthorne who got the best start, pulling away to an early lead.
The 1957 German Grand Prix gets underway on August 4, 1957
Fangio soon put his Maserati 250F to work though, moving his way by Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorne and back into the lead on the third lap. By Lap 13, Fangio had pulled out a 30-second lead as he came in for fuel and tires.
Juan Manuel Fangio races en route to winning the 1957 German Grand Prix
However, Fangio’s stop turned out to be a disastrous one and he reemerged from the pits 50 seconds behind the leaders. What followed next was an absolutely astounding drive as the Argentine driver took chunks out of the Ferraris’ leads, positioning himself in striking distance on the penultimate lap.
Fangio passed Hawthorn to win his greatest race.
First, Fangio passed Peter Collins, before making a move on Collins’ teammate Hawthorne with one lap left to spare. Fangio went on to win the race by 3.6 seconds over Hawthorne.
Fangio takes the checkered flag to win the 1957 German Grand Prix and the World Championship
After the race, 46-year-old Fangio confessed that it was the hardest he had ever raced and that he never wanted to have to race that hard again. It was the Argentine’s 24th, final and finest victory.
Peter Collins, Juan Manuel Fangio, and Mike Hawthorne celebrate on the podium after the 1957 German Grand Prix