The Rivals - Bugatti 35 & Alfa Romeo

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1933 Monaco Grand Prix with the Bugatti Type-35 and Monza Alfa Romeo Motor Racing Art Print by Stuart Booth


The 1933 Monaco Grand Prix was an epic contest between bitter rivals, Tazio Nuvolari and Achille Varzi.  Both Italians, but of different character, Nuvolari, born in Mantua, was of typically Latin temperament and regarded by many as the greatest driver of all time whilst Varzi, born in Milan, was ice-cool.


The race was the first ever where grid positions were determined by practice times and Varzi was fastest in his Bugatti type-51 with Nuvolari’s Monza Alfa Romeo in fourth.  By the third lap Nuvolari was right with his rival and took the lead on the next.  Thereafter the two traded positions, never more than a few seconds apart and usually much much closer.  The Mantuan narrowly lead into the last lap, but on the climb to the Casino Varzi edged ahead, whilst the Alfa’s engine finally failed under the strain.  While Varzi took the chequered flag, Nuvolari made it as far as the chicane before jumping out to push, but suffered the ultimate indignity of being disqualified for receiving assistance from an over-enthusiastic mechanic, worried that the car was on fire.  Thus one of the greatest grand prix ended in a theatrical climax after a duel lasting nearly three and a half hours and 97 out of 100 laps.


The painting shows Varzi leading up the hill past Beau Rivage on the climb to Casino Square.

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