Reeling Them In

Ask any historian of motor racing about the greatest drive in Grand Prix history and there are a few obvious candidates - Jim Clark at Monza in 1967, Jackie Stewart at the Nurburgring in 1968, Senna at Donington in '93 and perhaps even Jenson Button's drive from last to first in Montreal in 2011; one drive which will be on every list and one which has passed into legend is that of Fangio at the Nurburgring in 1957.  On a circuit where even a minor mistake might be a driver's last and having had a leisurely stop for new tyres at half distance, Fangio rejoined a distant third and set about the relentless pursuit of the Ferraris of Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins.  Smashing the lap record no less than nine times over the next 10 laps, Fangio caught the Ferraris with a lap to go, passed both of them and took a famous victory.  Afterwards, Fangio said "I have never driven that quickly before in my life and I don't think I will ever be able to do it again..... For two days I couldn't sleep, still making those leaps in the dark on those curves wher I had never before had the courage to push things so far."  It was the 24th and last Grand Prix win of his career (from just 51 starts) and with it he sealed his fifth world title.  At the finish, Hawthorn and Collins hoisted the great man aloft - no other driver since has commanded the unstinting praise of his peers and stood so clearly - head and shoulders - above the rest.

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