The Green Hell: 1951 German Grand Prix

The Nürburgring, named for the Castle Nürburg in its center, is always an epic race.  Unfortunately, I was not able to find any footage for this race.  So, I will do my best to re-explain what transpired at the XIV Groβer Preis von Deutschland (aka 1951 German GP).  The track, as the track was configured in those days, covered 14.173 miles.  The Grand Prix would take place over twenty laps for a Grand Prix totalling 283.47 miles.  Alberto Ascari qualified in pole position.

It was a sunny day and Ascari would certainly shine today.  Here’s the rundown:

English: Nürburgring, layout 1927–1966, the No...

English: Nürburgring, layout 1927–1966, the Nordschleife Deutsch: Nürburgring, Streckenführung 1927–1966, die Nordschleife (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alfa Romeo and Scuderia Ferrari each fielded 4 cars packing the front rows with that deep Italian shades of red.  Ferrari made good on their forward momentum; Ascari and José Froilán González qualified in first and second, respectively.  Alfa Romeo snagged the next two spots with Ferrari grabbing the fifth and six spots.  In the race itself, Nino Farina took the initial lead.  By the time the cars came around again, he had been overtaken by Fangio, Ascari, and González.  Eventually, Farina had to pull off; the grueling Green Hell took its toll on his engine and it overheated.  Now, let’s recall, Fangio is in the fuel-gobbling 1.5 two-stage supercharged Alfetta.  He had to pull off early in order to fuel up.  The early stop signaled to Ferrari that Fangio would need to stop twice.  Maximizing his fuel, Ascari, in his new Ferrari 375 F1, took the lead on the fifth lap.  In spite of his fuel efficiency, Ascari came into the pits a second time, unexpectedly.  Fangio, however, had engine problems and so Ascari was able to carry the day bringing home their second straight Ferrari victory.


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