|The Wild Bull Of The Pampas flogs his Prancing Horse at Silverstone to score Ferrari's first F1 win (autosport.com photo)|
Born in 1922, he was 11 years younger than Juan and came from Arrecifes, about 75 miles outside Buenos Aires, where his father operated a Chevrolet dealership. Like Juan, Gonzalez was short and stocky, though much more so, and his tendency towards corpulence was at the root of two of his several nicknames. Because of a somewhat oversized cranium perched on a short neck Gonzalez was known in Argentina as 'El Cabezon' - fathead. But unlike his bow-legged countryman El Chueco, El Cabezon did not drive as much with his head, but was noted instead for relying on a heavy right foot, which was why 'Lead Foot' became another of the appelations applied to him. In his homeland, where he distinguished himself as a dirt track daredevil, with a propensity for starting explosively then lashing himself into a car-flogging frenzy, he was also called 'The Whip.' In England, his bullish physique and bull-headed, sometimes bull-in-a-china-shop approach to racing caused him to be known as 'The Wild Bull of the Pampas' or 'The Pampas Bull.' From the way he seemed to grab the car by the scruff of the neck and wrestle with it in a series of strangleholds as if to throttle it into submission, the Europeans decided he resembled the ferocious mountain lion of the Americas and nicknamed him 'The Puma.'
Everyone agreed Gonzalez had explosive talent, though he needed to manage it with his mind. His new boss Enzo Ferrari, who fancied himself as a talent-spotter who could polish a diamond-in-the-rough, noted that while the likes of Fangio or Ascari could be relied upon to go round and round like clockwork, Gonzalez alternated between marking time and unleashing furious bursts of speed. The latter motion was used to attack adversaries from behind. Once he had accomplished an overtaking manouevre, Ferrari felt, Gonzalez tended to slacken speed and allow himself to be overtaken. Ferrari could never understand why he was so extraordinarly inconsistent and sometimes wondered - given the amount of mental and physical exhaustion he seemed to suffer - why Gonzalez raced at all.
Everyone was transfixed by the astonishing display, even his team mate Ascari, whose Ferrari had retired with a broken gearbox. When Gonzalez stopped for fuel on the 61st lap, he shouted an offer of his car to Ascari, who shook his head and gestured that the Argentine phenomenon should continue to pursue the triumph he so obviously deserved. Though Fangio was handicapped somewhat by his car's extra fuel requirements, and had to make two pit stops, he still managed to lead a third of the race's 90 laps, but Gonzalez was in front for all the others and after 2 hours, 42 minutes and 18.2 seconds of supreme effort he led Fangio across the finish line by half a minute. His friend did not begrudge being beaten.
The Gonzalez win was historic from several points of view. It was Alfa Romeo's first defeat after 27 straight Grand Prix victories since 1946. It was the first time an unsupercharged car had won a world championship race. Most of all, it was the first world championship win for Enzo Ferrari, whose earlier successes had come when he ran the pre-war Alfa Romeo team. After the momentous milestone achieved by Gonzalez, whom he congratulated for his combination of courage and tenacity, Ferrari was moved to tears that he confessed were a mixture of joy - at winning with one of his own cars, and sadness - at having beaten his former team.
- from FANGIO The Life Behind The Legend by Gerald Donaldson