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1952 British Grand Prix

The fourth round of the 1952 World Championship took place on July 19 in Great Britain at the Silverstone track. In the off-season, the organizers of the Grand Prix slightly upgraded the track, moving the pit lane and the start-finish mark to the straight line between the turns of Woodcote and Copse. At the same time, the length of the track increased to 4,711 km, and now the drivers had to complete 85 laps.

Silverstone 1952.jpg

     The British Grand Prix has always been quite popular with drivers, and given the transition of the World Championship to the Formula 2 regulations, a record 32 drivers took part in the Grand Prix this year, half of whom were driving British cars. But the favorite of the Grand Prix, as before, was considered to be Ferrari, which was represented by the unchanged three drivers of the main line-up: Ascari-Farina-Taruffi.  A few more Ferraris were brought to the start by private drivers: Rudy Fischer and debutant Roy Salvadori drove Ferrari 500, Peter Hirt - Ferrari 212 sports car, and Peter Whitehead – an outdated Ferrari 125. At the same time, Peter Whitehead's brother Graham made his debut in the British Grand Prix driving an Alta.

       Amadeus Gordini's team this time was represented by three drivers: Manzon, Trintignant and Prince Bira, and Jean Behra was forced to miss the British Grand Prix due to an injury sustained in the non-championship race at Les Sables d'Olonne. The ERA team returned to the World Championship with its only driver Stirling Moss after one missed Grand Prix. In the HWM team, two unchanged drivers Collins and Macklin were joined this time by Englishman Duncan Hamilton, who already had experience in the World Championship last year.

      British Cooper cars showed good speed in the previous stages, so it is not surprising that in this Grand Prix as many as five drivers chose them. For Mike Hawthorn, Alan Brown and Eric Brandon, the British stage was already the third in the championship, but now two more Cooper were brought to the start by the best British driver of recent years, Reg Parnell and Englishman David Murray.

      Also at the British Grand Prix, the new British Connaught Engineering team made its debut, which was represented by four World Championship debutants Dennis Poore, Eric Thompson, Ken Downing and Ken McAlpine.



       In qualifying, the Ferrari drivers were again the fastest, but this time Giuseppe Farina was not inferior in speed to Alberto Ascari and showed the same time with him. And since the 1950 world champion was the first to show the best result, therefore, according to the current rules, the pole position went to him. Taruffi was third again, losing 3 seconds to the leaders, and the best of the rest was again Manzon on Gordini, lagging behind Ferrari by 2 seconds. The Connaught team immediately showed excellent speed in its debut Grand Prix, and its drivers took 5th, 8th and 9th places at the start, the best of which was Ken Downing. Coopers, driven by Parnell and Hawthorn, were also fast, and the British took 6th and 7th places, showing the same time. The second Gordini of Prince Bira closed the top ten, and Maurice Trintignant on the third Gordini this time did not shine with speed and showed only the 21st result.
       In general, the fight in qualifying came out very tight, and the drivers from 5th to 15th places kept within 2 seconds. Hamilton, the team's rookie, turned out to be the fastest of the HWM, showing the 11th result, and Graham Whitehead became the 12th, ahead of his brother by 2 seconds. Stirling Moss was not very fast this time and showed only the 16th result, losing the pole position time of 9 seconds. Enrico Plate's team was late for training at all, but was allowed to start, taking the last places on the starting field.



Start. Ascari makes a great start and takes the lead in the race, but even better Poore starts on Connaught, who sweeps through the ranks of rivals from 8th place and almost outstrips Farina, who hesitated a little. The world champion still manages to keep second place, but Connaught is hanging on his tail.


       Taruffi once again fails the start and rolls back to 9th place, and Manzon also starts unsuccessfully, dropping to 7th place. Moss, Salvadori, Trintignant and Graffenried, thanks to a good start, win back many positions and occupy 10th, 12th, 15th and 18th places, respectively. Alan Brown already has problems with his Cooper on the first lap, and the Englishman drives into the pits at the end of the lap, dropping to last place.


The first retirement was also recorded: the brakes fail on Cantoni's Maserati, and the Uruguayan drops out of the race.
Position after the 1st lap: Ascari, Farina, Poore, Downing, Parnell, Thompson, Manzon, Hawthorn, Taruffi, Moss.
Lap 2: Ascari starts to break away from the second-placed Farina, who has to defend himself from the two Connaught of Poore and Downing chasing him.


Meanwhile, Parnell fails to keep up with the pace of the leaders, and Thompson, Hawthorn and Taruffi pass him at once. Manzon has problems with the clutch, and the Frenchman drives into the pits at the end of the lap, losing 3 minutes there and any chance of a decent result. Prince Bira manages to overtake Moss, and he rises to 9th place. 
Lap 3: Hawthorn and Taruffi pass Thompson and move up to 5th and 6th places respectively. Prince Bira overtakes Parnell and becomes 8th, and Moss makes a mistake and misses 10 rivals at once. Behind Graffenried passes Fischer and Peter Whitehead and comes in 14th place.
Lap 4: Taruffi overtakes Hawthorn and after his disastrous start the Italian is already 5th!


HWM newcomer Hamilton manages to overtake debutant Salvadori in a Ferrari, and he becomes 10th.


Collins is doing worse at the second HWM, and he misses Trintignant to 12th place. Moss, after his mistake, begins to win back positions and passes Graham Whitehead.


Meanwhile, Peter Hirt has problems with the brakes, and the Swiss is out of the race.
Lap 5: Moss and Graham Whitehead win back two positions overtaking Fischer and Macklin.
Lap 6: Trintignant passes Salvadori and becomes 11th, and Brandon loses three positions and drops to 19th place. Brown drives into the pits again to replace the cooling fan belt and loses three minutes there.
Lap 8: Taruffi passes Downing's Connaught and comes out in 4th place.
Lap 9: Taruffi tries to pass another Connaught of Poore, but the Englishman defends himself masterfully and does not allow himself to pass.


Meanwhile, Collins overtakes Salvadori and becomes 12th, and Manzon finally goes down due to clutch failure.
Lap 10: Prince Bira passes Thompson and rises to 7th position.


One of the cylinder gaskets burns out on Tony Gaze's car, and the Australian drives into the pits for repairs, dropping to the last place.
Position after 10 laps: Ascari, Farina, Poore, Taruffi, Downing, Hawthorn, Bira, Thompson, Parnell, Hamilton.
Lap 11: Graffenried drives into the pits due to problems with the car and drops to the end of the peleton.
Lap 13: Hamilton has a problem with one of the engine cylinders and the British is passed by Trintignant and Collins.


Lap 14: Parnell drops to 11th position, missing Trintignant and Collins. Moss again, as in Belgium, has ignition misfire, and he lets through Graham Whitehead. Behind, Claes overtakes McAlpine, and Murray drives into the pits to replace the spark plugs.
Lap 15: After seven laps of unsuccessful attempts to overtake Poore, Piero Taruffi is lucky as the Englishman's Connaught slips on an oil patch and spins, letting the Ferrari through in 3rd place. Meanwhile, Hamilton continues to lose ground and misses Salvadori and Peter Whitehead, and Murray drops out of the race due to engine problems.
Lap 16: Collins overtakes Trintignant and rises to 9th place, and Salvadori passes Parnell and becomes 11th. Meanwhile, Hamilton loses three more positions, and Moss and Macklin simultaneously enter the pits: Moss to replace the spark plugs, and Macklin to top up the coolant.
Lap 17: Hawthorn overtakes Downing and rises to 5th place, already claiming points.


Meanwhile, Moss and Macklin, after leaving the pits, win back one position each.
Lap 18: Hamilton passes Brandon.
Lap 19: Parnell overtakes Salvadori and regains 11th place.
Lap 20: The engine on Collins' car starts to overheat, and the Englishman misses Trintignant.
Position after 20 laps: Ascari, Farina, Taruffi, Poore, Hawthorn, Downing, Bira, Thompson, Trintignant, Collins.
Lap 21: Collins loses three more positions and drops to 13th place, and Tony Gaze drops out of the race due to engine failure.
Lap 22: Thompson overtakes Prince Bira and comes out in 7th place, and Trintignant leaves the race with a broken gearbox.
Lap 23: Peter Whitehead passes Salvadori and rises to 10th place, and behind Macklin overtakes Schell.
Lap 24: Collins drives into the pits for coolant refilling and loses 7 positions.
Lap 26: Macklin passes Collins.
Lap 27: Farina, who is going second, is in trouble! Due to ignition misfire, the engine starts to lose power, and the Italian turns into the pits. The mechanics change the spark plugs in the engine, and after a three-minute stop in the pits, Giuseppe returns to the track in 6th place. Taruffi becomes second, and debutant Poore on Connaught becomes third!
Lap 28: It looks like the replacement of spark plugs on Farina's Ferrari did not bring tangible results, because the Italian can't get back up to speed, and Thompson passes him!  Behind, McAlpine overtakes Brandon.
Lap 30: Prince Bira has problems with his Gordini, and he turns into the pits, dropping to 14th place. Meanwhile, on the same lap, Salvadori passes Peter Whitehead, while Hamilton gets ahead of Fischer.


Position after 30 laps: Ascari, Taruffi, Poore, Hawthorn, Downing, Thompson, Farina, Parnell, Salvadori, Peter Whitehead.
Lap 31: Thompson catches up with his teammate Downing and passes him.
Lap 32: Downing counterattacks Thompson and takes the lead. Roy Salvadori is already in 8th place in his debut race, leaving Parnell behind.


Lap 33: The fight between the two Connaughts continues, and Thompson overtakes his teammate again.


Lap 34: Brandon, like his friend Brown, has a torn cooling fan belt, and he is forced to turn into the pits for repairs. The Englishman leaves the track three minutes later in the penultimate place.
Lap 36: Stirling Moss is forced to stop fighting due to engine failure on his ERA.
Lap 40: Parnell passes Salvadori and regains 8th place, and McAlpine overtakes Claes.
Lap 41: Hamilton has engine problems and misses Fischer and Bira.
Lap 45: After the middle of the race, it's time for scheduled refueling for Connaught. Thompson is the first to go to the pits, who loses three positions and falls to 8th place. On the same lap, the engine on Hamilton's HWM finally fails, and the Englishman drops out of the race.
Lap 46: Prince Bira passes Fischer and rises to 12th place.
Lap 49: Poore also stops by for refueling, and thus Hawthorn is already in 3rd place!
Lap 50: Downing is also in the pits and loses four positions due to refueling.
Position after 50 laps: Ascari, Taruffi, Hawthorn, Poore, Farina, Parnell, Thompson, Salvadori, Downing, Peter Whitehead.
Lap 51: McAlpine is the last of Connaught to go to refuel and loses two positions.
Lap 54: Macklin overtakes McAlpine.
Lap 55: Macklin passes his teammate Collins.
Lap 59: Thompson overtakes Parnell and rises to 6th position.


On Collins' HWM, engine misfire begins, and the Englishman misses McAlpine.
Lap 62: Downing passes Salvadori and becomes 8th.


Lap 63: Thompson bypasses Farina who has lost speed and gets into the points!
Lap 65: Collins drives into the pits for engine repair and drops to the penultimate place.
Lap 66: Salvadori passes Downing and regains 8th place.
Lap 74: Prince Bira overtakes Graham Whitehead and becomes 11th.
Last lap: Alberto Ascari, after another flawless race, wins the British Grand Prix, getting his third victory in a row! Taruffi, after an unsuccessful start of the race, manages to finish second, and he confidently takes second place in the World Championship. The third, to the delight of the local public, finishes Hawthorn, who holds another strong race and becomes the first British to get on the podium, driving a British car. The 4th and 5th places are taken by Poore and Thompson on Connaughts, bringing points to themselves and their team in the debut race. As for Farina, he will finish only 6th due to engine problems, and this is clearly not the result he expected in the race.


Interesting facts:

- Mike Hawthorn's first podium;
- the first podium of the Cooper car;
- Dennis Poore's debut and first points;
- Eric Thompson's debut and first points;
- the debut and first points of the Connaught team.

Driver standings


Alternative GP results

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