• Monaco Grand Prix 1956

Moss holds off Fangio's charge

Martin Williamson May 13, 1956
Stirling Moss savours victory at Monaco © Getty Images

Stirling Moss' win at the Monaco Grand Prix showed that he was determined his former Mercedes team-mate Juan Manuel Fangio was going to have to battle to retain his title.

Unlike the Italian monopoly in Buenos Aires, there was a variety of nationalities represented on the grid, but British manufacturers' hopes lasted a matter of 13 laps by which time both Vanwalls had quit while the notoriously suspect BRMs had been withdrawn after practice.

Moss took an early lead in his Maserati 250F while Fangio recovered from a slow start to move into second after the first lap. On the second lap he ran wide at the first corner forcing Harry Schell and Luigi Musso to take avoiding action - both drivers retired.

Fangio again ate away at Moss' lead but made another out-of-character error when he slammed into the barrier on the exit of the harbour chicane. He immediately pitted, climbed out and handed the car to Eugenio Castellotti whose own car had been stopped by clutch trouble.

Six laps later Ferrari called in Peter Collins, who had been second for some time, and Fangio commandeered the D50 to have another go at Moss. "It was a cruel blow for a young man who was doing all that could be expected of him," groaned the Times. It may have been Ferrari's way of appeasing Fangio who had been infuriated when it refused to officially name him as the team No. 1 when he joined.

A revitalised Fangio yet again launched a challenge to Moss, reducing a 45-second gap to six seconds by the finish. In fairness, Moss had been nursing his Maserati after a collision with a back marker had caused his bonnet to come loose and flap open at high speed.