The German Grand Prix was the seventh round of the World Championship and was a very important race concerning the World Championship. The previous year, Ascari would be crowned World Champion after his come from behind victory over Farina. One year later, Ascari was on the verge on clinching his second title but wouldn't be in the position of needing a victory to do it. More than anything, he would need to protect the victory from Mike Hawthorn, who already had a victory and posed the greatest threat to Ascari if he managed to win the rest of the races. And so, once again, Connaught and a number of other teams were nothing more than background scenery.
Not even Connaught could compare to the natural scenery within which the German Grand Prix would be conducted. The Nurburgring, with its immensely-long 14.1 mile Nordschleife, was nestled in the Eifel mountains, heavily-wooded hills located right near the western edge of the West German border. This natural setting made for one incredible circuit.
Built in the 1920s, the Nurburgring meant to substitute for a public road circuit that had been deemed too dangerous. However, at 14 miles long, 170 corners and more than a 1,000 feet of elevation change, a single lap of this purpose-built circuit would prove to be almost as dangerous, especially given the fact that majority of the circuit was left unprotected on either side of the track, or, featured nothing more than hedges to keep the cars on the circuit.
Connaught would come to the race with its three cars. It would take as many bullets as the team could fit in its gun to ensure a good result on this circuit. Therefore, the team would have McAlpine behind the wheel along with Prince Bira and Roy Salvadori.
The nature of the circuit, with its tight, winding corners, as well as its long fast sections, would make for a starting grid that would feature a wide-variety of car marks up near the front. Of course, none of the car marks would be better than Ferrari and Maserati. And this would be demonstrated by Ascari's incredible qualifying lap of nine minutes and fifty-nine seconds. He would be the only one to achieve a lap time under ten minutes and would deservedly start from the pole. Juan Manuel Fangio would be second-fastest. However, his best time would end up being four seconds slower. The rest of the front row would be entirely comprised of Ferraris. Giuseppe Farina would start 3rd while Hawthorn would start 4th.
Over the course of the last couple of World Championship races, Salvadori had shown a troubling lack of speed in the A-Type chassis. At the Nurburgring; however, he would show that the speed was back. Although his best time would be nearly a minute slower than Ascari's, Salvadori would still manage to be 13th-quickest and would start from the middle of the fourth row.
The rest of his Connaught teammates would be found just one row back. Prince Bira would be the fastest of these two. His best lap would be eleven minutes and two seconds and strong enough to start 15th. McAlpine would set a lap just five seconds slower than Bira, and therefore, would start right beside him in the row in the 16th position.
Ascari didn't really need to win the race to win the championship, but when the race started, it seemed winning was the only thing on his mind. Fangio would actually get the better start and would lead through the first couple of corners, but then Ascari would overpower Fangio and would go into the lead and the distance.
At 14 miles, just one lap was like many at other circuits. This meant there would be a number of entries that would fall out of the race after a number of miles of racing but perhaps 'officially' before completing a single lap, or, after just one. This would end up happening to a number of entries; unfortunately including Connaught's Salvadori.
Hans Stuck and Ernst Loof would find their races come to an end even before completing a single lap. Salvadori's would find his race over after just one. A gasket would fail on his Connaught and would end what seemed to be a race full of promise.
One promise in the race was that Ascari wasn't going to take it easy. Soon, Ascari would build up a decent lead over the rest of the field. He was pulling away from Fangio, Farina and Hawthorn. He had already left a number of other competitors well behind, and, had even lapped some by this point in the race.
Of course, by the time 5 of the 18 laps had been completed, Ascari had already passed a number of competitors because they were out of the race. In fact, eight would be out of the race before even 5 laps would be reached. Another five would retire after just 10 laps. Included in those that would retire before lap ten would be another of Connaught's bullets. Prince Bira would have a rocker fail on his Connaught, thereby ending his race.
However, even Ascari's Ferrari would drop out of the race before 10 laps had been completed. His pace over the course of the first 8 laps had been such that his car was experiencing incredibly strain. All of a sudden, Hawthorn, Farina and Fangio would streak by a struggling Ascari. One of his wheels had broken off his car and he was doing all he could just to limp back to the pits. Help would soon come. After making it to the pits, Villoresi would come in to the pits and give his car to Ascari for the remainder of the race. Villoresi would wait and take over Ascari's car once the repairs to the wheel had been made.
Armed with a new car, Ascari would take his second chance and would stand on it. He would need to. Hawthorn was running up near the front and had even managed to lead a few laps. This threatened Ascari's championship hopes. Therefore, the Italian would have to stand on it. And what he would do would be truly mesmerizing.
While McAlpine was doing his best just to hold on and make it to the finish, Ascari would take and make the Nurburgring seem like his own personal playground. After his performance over the next few laps, Ascari would certainly have to be in the running for consideration as a Ringmeister. His pace would immediately increase. But he wouldn't just pick it up a tenth or two, or even a second; his 12th lap would tell the story all by itself. On the 12th lap of the race Ascari would set the fastest lap time of the race. His time would be an incredible nine minutes and fifty-six seconds! This time was more than three seconds faster than his own qualifying effort, and on a difficult circuit in which to be really consistently fast.
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