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MERCEDES-BENZ HAT TRICK MANY RETIREMENTS IN GERMAN GRAND PRIX. SLIPPERY COURSE AT NURBURG RING
At the end of one of the strangest races ever held at the Niirburg Ring, only one Mercedes-Benz, and one Auto-Union was left running in the German Grand Prix, out of the nine cars in the two teams which had started.
Caracciola ended his long run of bad luck by a masterly victory for Mercedes.
He not only drove with all his old skill on the slippery course, but won his victory by splendid tactics, using only just sufficient speed to keep his rivals at bay. Quite early in the race all his team mates had fallen out, and he was fighting alone battle against three Auto-Unions. When the 22 laps (about 300 miles) were over, only Muller survived in the latter team.
Caracciola thus completed a hat trick in the German Grand Prix for Mercedes. He himself won in 1937, and last year was the occasion of the late R. J. B. Seaman's famous victory.
Rain fell at intervals during the race, and none other than Nuvolari himself stated that he had never known the track so slippery, as the showers were never sufficient to make the surface really wet. During practice, on the other hand, the weather had been warm, and carburation, set for different conditions, was badly affected.
There had been some really terrific speeds in practice, during which Hermann Lang lapped the 14-mile course, the most tricky in Europe, with more than 120 corners, at no less than 87 m.p.h. With a time of 9 min. 43.1 sec., he beat Rosemeyer's unofficial practice record, set up in 1936 with one of the 6-litre cars by 3 sec.
During the actual race, however, these speeds were not reached, and Caracciola's winning average of 75.14 m.p.h. was the lowest on record since the modern formula cars began in 1934. Caracciola himself made the fastest lap at 81.65 m.p.h., and the official record thus remains in the hands of Lang, who set up a speed of exactly 86 m.p.h. during the recent Eifel races, and averaged 84.14 m.p.h. for ten laps.