D he world championship in 1961 ran on a duel between the Ferrari Pilots out. Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips against Phil Hill. With a view to the title, definitely a first. No American or German had ever won the World Cup crown. The Ferrari 156 was vastly superior to the competition. Even before the GP Germany, the sixth of eight races of the season, it was more or less certain that a Ferrari driver would win the title. Trips was in the lead with 27 points ahead of Hill (25), colleague Richie Ginther (16) and Stirling Moss on Lotus (12).
If there were two race tracks on the calendar, Moss and his Lotus-Climax did Motor-wise superior Ferrari could beat, then it was the Nürburgring and Monte Carlo. The Englishman used his chances to one hundred percent. He won both races. What his Walker-Lotus 18 lost in the fast passages Flugplatz, Schwedenkreuz, Kesselchen, Döttinger Höhe and on the straights in the start /finish area, he made up for in the 73 corners.
Moss also helped Weather. Before the race, the old fox had opted for more profiled tires. That was an advantage on the partly wet track. In the qualification for one lap, the Ferrari 156 were unbeatable. Phil Hill was the only one to break the nine-minute mark. With 8.55.2 minutes the American was 6.2 seconds faster than Jack Brabham. Moss only got 9.01.7 minutes. It was enough for the first row of the grid, which at that time still consisted of four vehicles.
Extra training for trips for 100 marks
Jack Brabham received preferential treatment from engine supplier Climax. The world champion from 1959 and 1960 had the first V8 prototype from Coventry Climax in the rear. It produced 275 hp, 20 horsepower more than the good old four-cylinder. After an engine failure right at the beginning of the training, a replacement eight-cylinder helped Brabham at the second best time towards the end of the training. Even before Nürburgring specialist Stirling Moss and Joakim Bonnier in the Porsche. The Swede got to know the ring well during a private test the week before the race.
Local hero Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips only made it into the second row. This was due to an engine failure after three laps on the first day of training. For the fee of 100 marks, the organizer granted his quota provider an extra hour of training on Saturday morning, which Jack Brabham also took part in. Both wanted to run in their newly installed engines. In the final training session, there was still enough time for trips of 9.05.5 minutes.
A total of 26 drivers were at the start. In addition to Dan Gurney and Joakim Bonnier, Porsche had a third car called Hans Herrman. Ferrari came to the Eifel with four cars for Phil Hill, Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips, Richie Ginther and Willy Mairesse. Jim Clark and Innes Ireland competed for Lotus, Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren for Cooper, and B.R.M. Graham Hill and Tony Brooks. Jim Clark and Michael May got to know the dangers of the Nordschleife during training. They both threw their cars into the bushes. Clark after a steering break at the Schwedenkreuz.
Phil Hill whistled for the stable management
The duel of the Ferrari aces attracted 320,000 spectators to the Nürburg on Sunday. Trips and Hill were hyped as title heroes by the daily press. Despite the tense situation in the team, Trips invited his opponent to Hemmersbach Castle before the race. Rumors then circulated at the Nürburgring that Ferrari wanted a Trips victory. Phil Hill denied it. The American told a reporter that he would definitely ignore any stable direction.
After a cloudburst over noon, the track was still wet when Juan Manuel Fangio sent the field on its way. After Jack Brabham turned in a hedge, the way was clear for Stirling Moss. The Lotus driver quickly pulled away from the field and did not give up the lead until the finish line. Behind them Phil Hill and Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips wore their pre-deciding duel. Trips did not swim clear until the end of the second lap after a poor start. Hill lost his lead on trips because of problems with the gearbox. In the 7th lap, the two Ferraris were close behind each other.
A duel like in a bike race
As it dried out more and more,The hour of trips struck. He passed Hill and headed for Moss. In the 11th lap, the count was only shown 7 seconds behind the leading Lotus. Moss had to be careful not to burn his heavily profiled rain tires on the dry track. Trips was better equipped for the moment with its dry tires. In the penultimate lap it started to rain again. Moss had all the trumps in hand. But behind him it suddenly became exciting again. Phil Hill caught up with his teammate again and also overtook him.
The decision was made on the last lap. There was a strange scene over the last few kilometers. Nobody wanted to be the first to go into the last corner before the start and finish, because experience taught that the second would do better in the subsequent acceleration duel. As a result, the two Ferrari drivers almost came to a standstill several times between Galgenkopf and Antoniusbuche, following the motto: After you, sir. Both watched each other like sprinters at a bike race. Trips finally ended the game and caught his opponent on the wrong foot. His second place was the ticket to the World Cup. Fate had other plans. 35 days later Graf Berghe von Trips died in Monza, in the race that should bring him the world title.
Result GP Germany, 6/8/1961 at the Nürburgring
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