Tens of thousands would be assembled around the circuit preparing for the 312 mile race to get underway. Farina knew that the only way he could control events in his favor was to lead from the very beginning. And so, as the flag dropped to start the race, Farina would make a fantastic start and would streak into the lead of the race with Alberto Ascari falling in behind in 2nd place. Fangio would make a poor start and would be a fair distance behind through the first couple of corners. Still, he would be right there in 3rd place. Fangio would be in no hurry like Farina, for all he needed to do was finish the race in a strong position and Farina would have the title taken from him and given to his apparent number two.
Farina would lead through the first 10 laps of the race while Fangio and Ascari battled for 2nd place. But then, it would be Farina that would come under fire from Ascari. The Scuderia Ferrari driver would take over the lead of the race and would put Farina in a very uncomfortable position as he needed to take the victory in order to keep his championship hopes alive. Therefore, Farina would have to fight back. This would put him in a dangerous position. And so, he would need to take over the lead and control the situation from the front of the field as soon as he could.
Farina would get something of a reprieve when, on the 21st lap of the race, Ascari's engine would let go bringing about the end of his challenge of Farina for the lead of the race. Still, Fangio was running well inside the top five, and still, on course to take the championship.
As was the case with most races at Monza, attrition would be high with twelve cars falling out of the race before the race even reached 25 laps. One of those to fall out of contention, surprisingly, would be Fangio. His gearbox would fail on his 158 leaving him without a car strong enough to contest with Farina. But Fangio wasn't about to give up that easy. He would take over Piero Taruffi's car and would begin his pursuit of Farina in an attempt to keep his championship hopes alive.
All of a sudden, due to attrition, roles would shift. Heading into the race, all of the pressure had been on Farina. He needed his car to work perfectly. He needed to make no mistakes. There were a lot of variables in play that could have taken the title, which had seemed to be his after the victory in the Swiss Grand Prix, away from him. However, by the 23rd lap of the Italian Grand Prix, the pressure had now shifted somewhat and was shared by both Farina and Fangio.
Fangio wouldn't go quietly. There was still a lot to fight for. Fangio would find himself way back of Farina. And though it may have appeared at the time as though he could not take the victory, all he really needed to do was to finish better than 4th place and the World Championship would be his. This meant there was still some pressure on Farina to go after the victory. Farina needed the victory or it was all over. But he knew he couldn't push so hard as to jeopardize reliability.
Farina would have a little breathing room, but when Fangio took over 2nd place, Farina would find a great deal of discomfort coursing through his body. Fangio appeared to not be going anywhere, and this place much more of the stress and pressure right back on Farina.
But just when it seemed like Fangio would overwhelm Farina, the Agentinean would be gone. Taking over Piero Taruffi's Alfa, Fangio had pushed and pushed to move the pressure back over on Farina, and, sitting in 2nd place, it certainly appeared as if he had done exactly that. However, in his effort to regain lost ground and put Farina under pressure, Taruffi's Alfa would be pushed a little too hard itself. And, on the 34th lap of the race, Fangio's hopes for a World Championship were beginning to slip through his fingers.
Even though Fangio was out of the race, Farina could not get too comfortable. He still needed to take the victory. And, with 45 laps still remaining, there was more than enough time for attrition to catch up to the Italian. Therefore, Farina would do his best to master the balance between speed and reliability.
80 laps of the Italian Grand Prix would exact a terrible toll on the field. Before the race would come to an end, 19 cars would be considered retired from the race. And, as Farina made his last couple of circulations of the track, there really were only two other cars still in the running. Thankfully for Farina, the other two would not be near enough to give him too much of a problem as he closed in on the victory and the championship.
The Second World War had seemingly stolen the best years of Giuseppe Farina's career. But as he rounded the last corner at Vedano for the final time, it would become immediately apparent that the first-ever Formula One World Championship would be one that would not be stolen from him. And, as he crossed the line a minute and 18 seconds ahead of Alberto Ascari in 2nd place, it would become apparent to Farina that he had achieved his greatest result.
It seemed as though the Second World War had prevented the man from Turin from gaining what he believed to be his rightful place amongst the best in the world. Instead, what would happen is that he would become forever remembered as the very first World Champion, a title that, by its very name, would inherently carry a bit more weight than the achievements of some of his pre-war peers.
Farina's perseverance and fight would be rewarded. His best years, it could be argued, would not be stolen. Instead, his true reputation, his true talents as a driver belonged to a later era. And because of his drive and unbending character, he would be rewarded with the accolades and titles he deserved.
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