Fire & Ice
1933 Monaco Grand Prix: Tazio Nuvolari and Achille Varzi fight it out in one of the most exciting races in history. Nuvolari's Alfa leads Varzi's Bugatti, the eventual winner, setting a new record of 1 minute 59 seconds, the first man to lap the circuit in under two minutes. This Grand Prix was the first time in the history of the sport that the grid was deciding by timed qualifying rather than the luck of a draw. All the competing vehicles were painted in national colors: blue for the French drivers, green for the British, red for the Italian, yellow for the Belgians, and white for the Germans.
In the race, Varzi took the lead from pole position, and from the second row Nuvolari was fourth behind Borzacchini and Lehoux at the end of the first lap. By the end of the third lap Tazio was second, immediately behind Achille, and the two of them got down to a desperately close struggle which was to continue until the last lap. The lead changed hands every second or third lap, and at half distance Varzi led again, the shorter wheelbase of his Bugatti giving him some slight advantage through the corners, Nuvolari’s compensation being in slightly better acceleration. As the 98th lap ended, the cars were neck and neck, with Achille just edging ahead as they started their 99th lap. On the climb to the Casino for the last time, Varzi held on to third gear, stretching his engine to the limit and risking all to take the lead. Nuvolari held him but briefly, for a piston failed as he over-revved and hot oil sprayed onto the hot exhaust. So as Varzi, alone for the first time in the race, took the flag, a yellow shirted figure jumped from his smoking car as it lost momentum down from the tunnel and started to push. Worried about a fire breaking out, a mechanic helped and Nuvolari was disqualified. The duel for the lead in the 1933 Monaco Grand Prix had lasted for 97 of 100 laps and thus is unique in Grand Epreuve history. Nuvolari led for 66 laps, Varzi led for 34 laps. http://www.ddavid.com