• German Grand Prix 1956

Fangio wins to move closer to his fourth title

Martin Williamson August 5, 1956
Juan Manuel Fangio prepares for the start of the German Grand Prix © Getty Images

Juan Manuel Fangio, restored to full health, won the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, extending his lead in the drivers' championship and underlining why he was closing in on his fourth title, needing to finish only fifth or better in the final grand prix.

Fangio's ongoing dispute with his own team had eased with the appointment of his mechanics rather than him relying on the pool which usually served all the Ferrari drivers. He dominated qualifying to take pole, although team-mate Peter Collins, breathing down his neck in the championship, was only just behind.

Collins started well with Moss, but Fangio took the lead during the first of the twenty-two 14.5-mile laps and was never headed, maintaining absolute concentration for the three hours 38 minutes the race lasted.

Collins' own title hopes were dented on the ninth lap - his Ferrari developed a fuel leak when the tank split, and by the time he reached the pits he was dizzy from the fumes. "He was helped from the cockpit and staggered nearly collapsing to the side of the pits, too distressed even to take off his helmet." He had to wait two laps before he could take over Alfonso de Portago's car, but on the 15th lap he misjudged a corner and skidded backwards into a ditch.

Stirling Moss in second closed the gap on Fangio with a new lap record of 9:45.3 only for Fangio to better that with 9:41.6, some ten seconds faster than his qualifying time, and ease to his third win of the year. Jean Behra was third ahead of the only other two classified finishers - Spaniard Paco Godia and Louis Rosier in his last grand prix.

The unluckiest man was Bruce Halford who was disqualified for receiving assistance from spectators. Although flagged to stop, he continued to the end but was in distress because of fuel fumes and he was taken to hospital in an ambulance.