Ascari's last Grand Prix appearance
Ascari followed by a Mercedes (Simon?) and Trintignant (Ferrari 625), the future winner
It was May 22, 1955, and the European and Monaco Grand Prix was reaching its most exciting moment.
Alberto Ascari (26) was straining every sinew in his body, and in his Lancia D50, to catch up with race-leader Stirling Moss’s Mercedes Benz W196.
As Ascari drove up towards the Casino on that fateful 81st lap the loudspeakers were telling the crowds what he could not know; that Moss was out of his car and the mechanics were gazing hopelessly at the ruined engine.
As he took the Casino corner and wound the Lancia round the sinuous bends by the station Alberto noticed that the spectators were waving and signaling to him.
His deadly concentration on the task of taking the Lancia round the city circuit a little faster than seemed possible was broken.
He flashed into the tunnel and out into the brilliant sunshine to be confronted with the same gesticulations and excitement.
It distracted his attention for a vital second as he covered the downhill approach to the chicane and the corner became impossible.
He chose the only way out and took the Lancia clean through the barriers into the sea.
Steam from the hot engine mingled with the dust and fragments of straw floating in the air.
Then the pale blue helmet appeared bobbing on the surface.
Ascari was hauled into a boat before even the frogmen could reach him.
Trintignant won the race in a Ferrari.
Four days later at Monza, Ascari was on his feet again.
Just before going home to lunch with his wife he decided to try a few laps with the Sports Ferrari of his friend Castellotti.
As it emerged from the fast parabolica the car unaccountably skidded, turned on its nose and somersaulted twice.
Thrown out on the track, Ascari suffered multiple injuries and died a few minutes later.
Grand Prix History
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