The Friendly Rivals
Juan Manuel Fangio’s Maserati and Peter Collins’ Ferrari battle side by side on the daunting downhill sweeps of Rouen-Les-Essarts at the 1957 French Grand Prix. The race turned into a masterclass by Fangio – on the way to his fifth and final World Championship - drifting the 250F at ever more lurid angles to the delight of awestruck spectators and transfixed photographers whose work that afternoon stands as a monument to the great man. A year earlier Fangio and Collins had both joined Ferrari, the former as the established master of Grand Prix racing, the latter as the ‘new boy’ in the Scuderia. By season’s end, Collins had won 2 Grands Prix and in the season finale at Monza was well placed to win the World Championship, his only real rival being Fangio whose car had broken leaving him stranded in the pits. In perhaps the ultimate sporting gesture, Collins pulled and handed his car to his teammate, claiming that he was too young to be World Champion. Fangio took the fourth of his five World titles that afternoon, Fangio being humbled by his protégé’s gesture. The respect which existed between the two men is difficult to imagine in the sporting context of the modern era.