Best Frence GP Ever?:

Reims 1953 best French GP ever - called before hand the 'race of the century' the race between Mike Hawthorn and Juan Manuel Fangio was just as hard-fought as any and lasted for more than half of the 60 laps.

Jose Froilan Gonzalez's Maserati actually led the opening 28-lap stint before pitting for fuel while, behind him, six cars - the Ferraris of Alberto Ascari, Hawthorn and Luigi Villoresi, and the Maseratis of Fangio, Giuseppe Farina and Onofre Marimon - were all trying to hold down second. Such was the ferocity of the tussle that even the respective Ferrari and Maserati mechanics were shaken by it.

As Gonzalez pitted, so Fangio made his move and thus began the true battle for the lead, and the Argentine, along with Ascari and Hawthorn, pulled away from the rest.

By lap 38 Ascari had been dropped and was rapidly being caught by a recovering Gonzalez. After a number of new lap records, Hawthorn pulled two seconds clear of Fangio, who fought back and, going into the final five laps, the pair could not be separated. The Ferrari and Maserati traded places many times, Hawthorn having to take to the grass in front of the timekeepers' box with four to go to get past the weaving Fangio.

With three laps to go there was nothing in it as they crossed the line, and the cars dead heated yet again - for the 10th time in the race - as they started the final lap. Gonzalez and Ascari were just as close to each other in third and fourth with Farina now running fifth.

The last lap was just as fraught. For most of it, predicting the winner was still all-but impossible, but Hawthorn managed to pull ahead, just, at Thillois corner. That better exit gave him the edge, and he finally took the flag 40m and one second ahead of Fangio who had lost use of first gear. Gonzalez, now safe in third, almost caught him on the line and, after 2h 45m of racing, only 7.6 sec covered the first five cars.

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French GP 1953

Reims

RACES FROM THE 50's
Hawthorn and Ascari both Ferrari