Back in 1958, Maria Teresa de Filippis entered the history of motorsport as the first woman to take part in a Formula One race. In 1958 and 1959, behind the wheel of a Maserati 250F, the Italian tried five times to qualify for the Grand Prix race. She failed to do so in Monaco in 1958, and luck smiled on her the same year in Belgium. The race in Spa is also the only one she has finished. She finished in tenth place, which sounds good by today's standards, but at the time only ten racers finished the race, so Maria was last in the race, two laps behind winner Tony Brooks.
At the time, the 32-year-old racer also qualified for the Portuguese Grand Prix and the domestic race in Italy in the qualifiers that year, but was stopped by an engine failure in both races.
The last time she tried to race was in 1959, in the first race of the season in Monaco, where she failed to get among the 16 fastest racers who could compete in the race.
Maria turned her back on the race after that. The turning point was the death of Jean Behra in the support race of the German GP that season.
She only got a successor in the races of the royal motoring class 15 years later when Lella Lombardi got into the race car. Together, they remain the only female drivers in this racing sport so far.
Let them rest in peace!
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