The 1954 German Grand Prix was held at Nürburgring on 1st August 1954. The sixth round of the 1954 World Drivers' Championship was lengthened from 18 to 22 laps, bringing the German Grand Prix up to a race distance of approximately 500 kilometres, the distance used by the majority of Formula One races at the time.
Mercedes brought their new open-wheeled version of the W196 for Juan Manuel Fangio, Karl Kling and Hermann Lang, in a one-off drive, to race at the Nürburgring after their defeat at Silverstone in the streamlined version of the car, although Hans Herrmann drove a streamlined W196.
Qualifying saw Fangio take pole position from Mike Hawthorn in the Ferrari 625 #3, but practice was marred by the death of the Maserati factory driver Onofre Marimón. Going into the Wehrseifen, made up of a slight right hander and sharp left hand turn, Marimón's Maserati 250F failed to negotiate the right hander on the downhill run into the bend. His car plunged down an embankment, causing it to somersault, and he was killed instantly.
Marimón's team mate Luigi Villoresi withdrew from the race, as did the Owen Racing entered Maserati of Ken Wharton, but the team's third car, driven by Sergio Mantovani, started the race. Stirling qualified third in his privately entered Maserati 250F #16 ahead of Herrmann in the Mercedes-Benz W196 #20, Gonzalez, in the #1 Ferrari, and Paul Frère, in the Gordini T16 #10.
Fangio and Kling led the early stages of the race in their two Mercedes. Hawthorn was an early retirement with a broken axle in the #3 Ferrari, as were Stirling, Frère and privateer Maserati driver Roberto Mieres. Lang, one of the pre-war stars of the Mercedes 'Silver Arrows' spun out of his final Grand Prix appearance after ten laps.
Gonzalez, in the #1 Ferrari, ran as high as third place, but was so upset by Marimón's death he was called in after 16 laps to hand over to Hawthorn, who set off in pursuit of the Mercedes. He moved into second when Kling pitted and pursued Fangio relentlessly.
Late in the race, drizzle forced him to slow and he held second from Maurce Trintignant in the #2 Ferrari. Kling finished fourth ahead of Mantovani, the last driver to travel the full race distance, getting some points for a griefing Maserati team. Kling also claimed a point for the fastest lap.
The race was won by Fangio in the #18 W196, from the #1 Ferrari 625 of Hawthorn that he had shared with González, with Trintignant third for Scuderia Ferrari.
Just ten of the 23 qualifiers finished the gruelling race. With an elapsed time of 3 hours 45 minutes 45.8 seconds, this was the longest F1 championship race in history, until the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix, which lasted just over four hours.
The win pushed Fangio further ahead in the 1954 championship, to the point where he had more than double the points of his nearest rival Gonzalez.
Watch a summary of the race below.