• Argentine Grand Prix 1955

Fangio keeps his cool as rivals wilt

Martin Williamson January 16, 1955
Juan Manuel Fangio stalks the Ferrari of Gonzalez and Lancia of Ascari en route to victory © Getty Images

Defending champion Jean Manuel Fangio proved his Mercedes was again the car to beat with a resounding victory in front of his adoring fans at the season-opening Argentine Grand Prix.

He was joined at Mercedes by Stirling Moss, who had been targeted by the team ever since his heroics at Monza the previous year. The pairing of the old master and the young pretender made for a heady combination.

At the start of the race the temperature topped 100 degrees Fahrenheit, conditions which Fangio and Jose Froilan Gonzalez were familiar with but which took a heavy toll on many others. The pits were a constant hive of activity as drivers tried to stay hydrated and cool, and a massive crowd were often bemused as drivers swapped cars with increasing regularity.

Fangio remorselessly drove on to take the chequered flag, ignoring frantic signals from team manager Alfred Neubauer to come in and hand over to Moss. "I won by simply staying in the car," Fangio said. "My body was on fire and my leg was burning so badly I could smell it."

A Ferrari which started under the control of Nino Farina before being handed to Gonzales was eventually driven over the line for second by Maurice Trintignant. Confusingly, Farina and Trintigent also had a spell behind the car in third which had started with Umberto Maglioli at the wheel.

The Mercedes in fourth also had used three drivers - Karl Kling, Hans Hermann and Moss. Another Argentine, Roberto Mieres, took fifth and was the only driver other than Fangio to go the distance without a relief driver, keeping cool by regularly pitting to have buckets of cold water thrown over him..