10th March 2018

FRENCH GRAND PRIX, Rouen

COLLINS WINS AGAIN

With no Grand Prix either in Belgium or Holland in 1957, the F.1 circus reassembled at the Rouen circuit in north-eastern France for the third round of the championship. This meant that was time for some changes to occur and the Vanwall team suffered most of the upset. Tony Brooks had been fairly seriously injured when he crashed his Aston Martin at Le Mans and Stirling Moss had the misfortune to get sea water up his nose while on holiday and this led to a sinus infection that meant he was also unable to take part in the race. One might say that Vanwall 'stole' Roy Salvadori from B.R.M. and Stuart Lewis-Evans from Connaught but Connaught had basically folded, never to return and Salvadori had simply abandoned his B.R.M. contract, opting for a demonstrably faster car. B.R.M. had retained Ron Flockhart and he was joined at Rouen by the young American driver Herbert Mackay-Fraser. The Cooper team had changed there second driver with Jack Brabham being partnered this time by Mike MacDowell, a driver from Norfolk who had been very successful in sports car races a couple of years earlier.

The remaining nine cars were from Italy although one of the Maseratis was not red but black with a cream nose. This was the private car of Bristolian Horace Gould. So the factory teams from Ferrari and Maserati brought four cars each. Musso was back in favour and replaced von Trips - but in his usual yellow-nosed car, while Collins, Hawthorn and Trintignant were in the cars they raced at Monaco. Behra was fit again so the Maserati team consisted of Jeannot plus Fangio, Schell and Menditeguy.

Somewhat surprisingly, there was no sign of any other private Maseratis so Gould was a lone ranger in that category.

The rule that allowed drivers to swap cars was still in force and Fangio certainly made use of it in France - though much good did it do him. Despite being among the favourites for the race his hopes were dashed when his car broke down after only 6 of the 77 laps completed but by lap 27 he had made it back to the pits whereupon Harry Schell was called in and Fangio took over car #6. He moved smoothly through the field and looked set for a third or fourth place finish when his second Maserati of the day also broke ten laps from the finish. It really wasn't his day. Behra worked hard with his 250.F but had no answer to the two British Ferrari drivers who led the race from the very start with Collins showing a superiority over even team-mate Hawthorn by drawing further and further away, eventually winning by almost a minute. Behra's efforts saw him only a handful of seconds behind Hawthorn after three hours of racing.

Salvadori drove a steady, careful race, although he is no Stirling Moss, and was rewarded with fourth place, one lap behind, but ahead of Trintignant's Ferrari and Menditeguy's Maserati. Both B.R.M.s finished, as did Brabham with the little Cooper. Musso's season showed no sign of improvement with another retirement and he was joined by Fangio (twice), once with Schell's car, of course, as well as MacDowell, Gould and Lewis-Evans whose debut with the Vanwall showed some promise but who was forced out of the race by mechanical problems after only 16 laps.

HERE IS THE RESULT OF THE THE 77 LAP RACE:

   1.
12
P. COLLINS FERRARI 801
3.06.05'10
   2.
14
M. HAWTHORN FERRARI 801
3.07.03'54
   3.
4
J. BEHRA MASERATI 250.F
3.07.09'57
   4.
20
R. SALVADORI VANWALL VW.1
76 laps
   5.
16
M. TRINTIGNANT FERRARI 801
75 laps
   6.
8
C. MENDITEGUY MASERATI 250.F
75 laps
   7.
26
R. FLOCKHART B.R.M. Type 25
75 laps
   8.
28
H. MACKAY-FRASER B.R.M. Type 25
74 laps
   9.
22
J. BRABHAM COOPER CLIMAX T.43
74 laps
Fastest lap:   P. COLLINS, FERRARI 801,   on lap 63,   2.20'67

Retired:
6
H. SCHELL / J. FANGIO MASERATI 250.F
67 laps
30
H. GOULD MASERATI 250.F
33 laps
24
M. MacDOWELL COOPER CLIMAX T.43
18 laps
18
S. LEWIS-EVANS VANWALL VW.4
13 laps
10
L. MUSSO FERRARI 801
13 laps
2
J. FANGIO MASERATI 250.F
6 laps

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