F1 - 1959 Avus GP - Hans Hermann accident
The simplistic track consisted of a very fast straight down either side of
a dual carriageway, punctuated at one end by a hairpin and at the other by
a steep banking.
Also uniquely in Formula One World Championship history, the race was
divided into two heats. In the first, Tony Brooks and Dan Gurney took the
lead. Masten Gregory in the Cooper-Climax battled hard with them, passing
first one Ferrari then the other as the lead changed hands until a big end
bolt broke. It was a Ferrari 1-2-3 with Phil Hill taking the final podium
place. In the second heat, once again the Ferraris had a duel at the front,
this time with Bruce McLaren until he suffered transfer gear problems. On
aggregate placings, it was an all-Ferrari podium in the order Brooks,
Gurney, Hill. Maurice Trintignant was fourth from Jo Bonnier and Ian
Burgess. This was the fastest Formula One race recorded at this time, with
an average speed of 143.3 miles per hour. Hans Herrmann crashed his BRM P25
five laps into the second heat.
Former Ferrari driver Frenchman Jean Behra was due to race his
Behra-Porsche Special in the Grand Prix but Behra was killed the day before
racing a Porsche RSK in the Formula 2 support race at the same venue.
The results show evidence of the inconsistency with which rules were
applied in this era. According to Formula One rules of the day, those
drivers who retired before the end of the Grand Prix should only be
classified if they pushed the car over the line after the finish. This rule
was not applied to Harry Schell, who retired some 11 laps before the end.
However, the rule was applied in other races, such as the 1960 Belgian
Grand Prix. The rules were later clarified in 1966.
Brooks win allowed him to close to within four points of championship
leader, Australian Cooper racer Jack Brabham.