On This Day In F1 – The German GP Was Held At One Of F1’s Most Unusual Tracks – WTF1

On This Day In F1 – The German GP Was Held At One Of F1’s Most Unusual Tracks

1953 German Grand Prix
The first F1 world champion, Giuseppe Farina, won his fifth and final race ahead of Juan Manuel Fangio and Mike Hawthorn. Although Alberto Ascari failed to score any points, the fact that Hawthorn didn’t win the race meant that Ascari clinched his second championship in a row – and remarkably, the last time an Italian driver won the championship to date.

1959 German Grand Prix
The race was hosted at the bizarre Avus circuit – essentially two long stretches of the Autobahn with a tight hairpin at one end and a huge, steeply-banked curve at the other. Adding to the weirdness, teams were so concerned about the tyres lasting that the event was split into two 30-lap heats, with the winner being decided on aggregate times.

Ferrari dominated the races as the fast-but-fragile Coopers couldn’t hack the pace – Masten Gregory fought for the lead in the first heat only for his engine to fail, and Bruce McLaren was in contention in heat two until his gearbox broke. Tony Brooks recorded his sixth and final grand prix win, Dan Gurney was second in just his second race, with Phil Hill completing the Ferrari one-two-three.

1964 German Grand Prix
John Surtees dominated the race from pole after Jim Clark fell back early and eventually retired with engine problems, with Graham Hill second and Lorenzo Bandini third. Five years after he’d last scored a point, 46-year-old Maurice Trintignant -at the time the most experienced F1 driver in history – brought his BRM home in fifth place in what would be his penultimate grand prix.

1970 German Grand Prix
F1 took a break from the Nordschleife due to safety concerns and headed for a flat-out blast through the forests of Hockenheim. The race ended up being an epic scrap between Jochen Rindt, Jacky Ickx and Clay Regazzoni – the lead changed 13 times in 50 laps, with Rindt eventually winning from Ickx by less than a second in what turned out to be his final victory. Regazzoni dropped out of the fight with engine failure just past half-distance, which almost allowed John Surtees to finish third driving a Surtees. However, his engine also went pop, allowing Denny Hulme to complete the podium.

1981 German Grand Prix
After a scruffy opening lap, Nelson Piquet calmly made his way up the order to win his third race of the season once Alan Jones dropped back with engine issues. Alain Prost had led the first half from pole position but dropped back to second when rain hit the circuit, while championship leader Carlos Reutemann retired with engine failure.

1998 German Grand Prix
Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard finished one-two for McLaren in a close race as Jacques Villeneuve to have one of his best races of the season, finishing third in his uncompetitive Williams as he gained on the leaders in the closing laps. Jordan also had a great race – Ralf Schumacher looked in podium contention for a time but turned out to be on an unfavoured two-stop strategy and ended up sixth, while Damon Hill managed to finish fourth, ahead of an off-colour Michael Schumacher.

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