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From the 1914 French Grand Prix to the reign of Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1950s
1914 FRENCH GRAND PRIX
Mercedes has an honourable place in the history of motor racing, pioneering competitors in the first ever race, the Paris-Rouen of 1894. But it is the 1914 French Grand Prix that stirs the memory, the DMG Mercedes 35 hp claiming all three places on the podium. The race at Lyon was won by the lustrously moustached Christian Lautenschlager at an average speed of 65.665 mph and was watched by a 300,000-strong crowd in the last grand prix before the First World War.
SILVER ARROWS OF THE 30s
Stripped of their traditional white coat to save paint, the team led by Alfred Neubauer grappled with their fellow German rivals Auto Union throughout the 1930s. Two Mercedes cars and their victories stand out: first, the 1937 W125 driven by former team cook Hermann Lang to victory on his grand prix debut at Tripoli and the following year’s W154 with Rudolf Caracciola at wheel, leading from the start of the 1938 French Grand Prix, where the silver arrows swept the podium.
FANGIO’S 50s REIGN
With the advent of Formula One in 1950 came the high-octane combination of Juan Manuel Fangio and the legendary W196 cars, the closed-wheeled streamliner a four-wheeled Venus de Milo that stunned the crowd on its 1954 debut at Reims. Fangio went on to win three more races that season and clinch the world championship. More success was to follow in 1955 with Fangio and a young Stirling Moss claiming the top two places in the world championship.