Just one lap after Bayol's exit, Chico Landi's Maserati would go up in smoke. He would leave a smoke trail all the way from the last turn to where he stopped in the pits. This made it five cars out of the race before even 20 laps had been completed. More would follow.
It wouldn't be all that surprising to have cars dropping out of the race given the incredible pace of the four cars running at the front of the field. Lap after lap, the four cars would remain within a car length, or closer, to each other. Moving like a freight train, the train of four cars was certainly something special to behold. And as with the French Grand Prix, each of the drivers showed the other great respect. And so, while the racing and closeness of it seemed very dangerous, there was still a good buffer of safety. These men were putting on a show and enjoying the challenge at the same time.
Those that weren't enjoying the show at the front would be those running outside of the top six. By the time the race reached 30 laps, all but the top six had come to be lapped. And those running 6th and 5th were rather far behind themselves.
The incredible pace of the four at the front would have consequences even for them. Just past halfway, Marimon would be forced to drop away from the pack and head to the pits as he was suffering from a radiator problem. This threatened to end the race for the Argentinean but the team would work as fast as they could and would fix the issue so that he could get back out there into the race. Amazingly, Marimon would join the same group he had left but would be some five laps down.
While there were now only three on the lead lap, the four cars running at the front of the field would set up one more dramatic finish on what had been a season filled with some close racing and fantastic races like the remarkable French Grand Prix.
The battle would not relent. The three men, including Marimon some laps down, would continue to race each other side-by-side down the straights and nose-to-tail through the turns. Neither was giving an inch but all was very safe. However, the biggest motor racing event in Italy was heading into the final couple of laps. This meant pride would become to come into play, and it would come into play in a big way.
Heading around on the final lap of the race, Giuseppe Farina was holding onto the lead strictly by positioning. He had taken over the lead of the race a few laps prior and maintained strong positioning throughout. Ascari, his teammate, was right there with him battling to get the position he had once held back. Juan Manuel Fangio was also right there but had surprisingly dropped back a couple of car lengths during the last couple of laps. Right there behind Fangio was Marimon who had been with the group all throughout the race with the exception of his interlude in the pits.
Nothing was decided heading down the Rettifilo Centro straight toward the final couple of corners on the circuit. Just weeks prior, the Ferrari team managers had sent out orders during the later-stages of the Swiss Grand Prix that each of the drivers was to hold position. Ascari, running, at the time, in 3rd place would have none of that and would ignore the order. He would eventually go on to take the lead and the victory. Therefore, Ascari had already proven willing to disobey team orders, and that was at the Swiss Grand Prix. Now it was the Italian Grand Prix; he was not about to give away the victory. And the only thing that separated him from victory in the largest race in Italy was Giuseppe Farina, his teammate. This would not do.
Heading into the final couple of corners, Ascari would make his move. But he had a problem. Farina maintained his line and took away the easy means of passing. This left Ascari with only one option and he would try it.
Ascari would try and go around Farina through the corners. Pushing his Ferrari 500 to the limit, the car was fighting for adhesion. Finally, the car would break loose. Ascari would fight to maintain control and would come across in front of Farina. This would cause Farina to lose pace as he tried to swerve and miss his teammate. While Farina would miss Ascari, he would lose his pace and his lead as Fangio would come through the melee to take the lead and the win. Besides brief interludes during the race, which wouldn't amount to more than a lap or two, Fangio would only lead on the last lap in what was the most important half a mile of the race.
Farina, who had been in the lead of the race over the course of the race would have to fight just to make it through the chaos caused by Ascari to finish a couple of seconds back in 2nd place.
It would be worse for Ascari. The newly crowned double-world champion was on his way to helping Ferrari earn a one-two finish in the final race of the season. This would have, not counting the Indianapolis 500 that counted toward the World Championship, given Ferrari a clean sweep of every race for two years. Instead, Ascari's wild move would not only lose Ferrari the victory, it would also lead to Ascari being caught up in an accident with Marimon. As Ascari struggled to get his car under control, Marimon would find himself with no place to go. As a result, he would hit Ascari in the side and both would be out of the race with only about a half a mile to go.
In all of the chaos of the final couple of corners, the rest of the field would be practically forgotten about. No clear signal had been given to Fangio that he had won so he actually would go around for one more lap before being stopped as the victor. Confusion would also exist concerning who finished in 3rd place. Luigi Villoresi and Mike Hawthorn had just been passed with a few laps remaining. Villoresi would do his best to stay with the four-car train, and it would pay off as the accident between Ascari and Marimon would end up allowing Villoresi to come through to finish 3rd.
It had truly been one of the more wild finishes to a race in the short history of the World Championship. The chaotic events would see Ferrari's string of victories come to an end and would introduce Maserati as the team to beat, as would be demonstrated the following year.
OSCA wouldn't be as fascinated with the events as they transpired. Their hoped for result had gone up in smoke. And unfortunately, the regulations would change the following year. This would make the Maserati brothers have to take a long and hard look at their involvement in grand prix racing.
OSCA would take their time making a decision about World Championship grand prix racing. With the regulation changes, Elie Bayol would go on to drive for Equipe Gordini the following season. On top of the changes in grand prix racing, OSCA had been earning something of a reputation in sportscar racing. Therefore, this would be where the brothers would put their focus, at least for the near future anyway.
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