We continued: “Rosemeyer, who knew the race was really his, was impatient to be in front. On the second lap he passed Lang, put in the fastest lap of the day (9min 53.4sec, 85.61mph) and came round with a good lead.
On the fourth lap, Caracciola, four times winner of the German GP, came round first, followed by Lang and Brauchitsch. Where was Rosemeyer?
“A fourth car appeared. It was his silver, bullet-like Auto Union, coasting into the pit, the nearside rear tyre throwing shattered rubber like sparks from a catherine wheel. The wheel took some time to change, as there was a doubt about the condition of the hub, but eventually all was ready. Rosemeyer, aching to be on with the chase, took a running jump into the cockpit, ripping the seat of his neat white overalls on the way. The sixteen cylinders roared into life, puffs of smoke shot up from the vertical exhaust stumps, and the Auto Union was away with over three minutes to catch up. How dearly the champion had paid for his opening laps at what evidently was too great a speed.”
Deeper into the field, things were even more enthralling. Richard Seaman came up behind Auto Union squabbling juniors, Müller and Delius.
“The three were well together on the west leg of the course going down towards Adenhau.
“The corners seem to go round and round – and then round just that bit more to catch the unwary driver. At a right-angle left bend, steeply downhill, Müller swerved head-long into an outside ditch, wrecking the independent front suspension and knocking himself badly against the steering wheel. Seaman went grimly after Delius. On the back stretches, he caught and passed him, thus moving up to fourth place. About now, the crowd woke up and appreciated Seaman’s terrific performance. In five laps den Englander had climbed from tenth to fourth place, and that takes some doing in the Grand Prix of the Year.”
Unfortunately, this spirited performance ended in disaster for the Sussex-born racer. With Delius and Kautz (“a fiery, determined little man”) chasing, it was almost three abreast down the long uprising straight.
“As they leaped over the second hump-backed bridge, Delius, passing on the left, was slightly ahead. As he landed he swerved to the outside – perhaps through landing crooked, perhaps because the cars touched – and just caught a fire-extinguisher post.”
At 130mph, he swerved right across Seaman, and “with a sickening leap, jumped the hedge on the left-hand side again. The flying car absolutely flattened a wire fence, was said by some to have cleared the head of two Nazis, and slithered, mowing down the grass, into the main Koblenz road which runs parallel to the course”. Seaman himself braked hard, skidded violently through the right-hand hedge, and “was hurled out onto the road”.