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La force des choses
Grand Prix de France 1954: the silver return

For the first time since before the war Mercedes-Benz fielded a Grand Prix team. Headed by Alfred Neubauer, the legendary mastermind of past victories, the team stunned the opposition with the technical marvel that was the W196 Silver Arrow.

The sight of the three fully streamlined eight-cylinder monsters on the starting line, with Fangio (18), Kling (20) and Herrmann (22) at the wheels, was something to behold. As was the qualifying times. Fangio had smashed the lap record and finally gone through the mystical 200 kph barrier.

As the flag fell Fangio and Kling rocketed into the lead and stayed there.

The only time the lead changed was while the Mercedes pair were providing a show for the crowd with their close order driving and snappy slip-streaming displays.

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