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1952 German Grand Prix

The fifth round of the 1952 World Championship took place on August 3 in Germany at the famous Nurburgring circuit, which, due to huge 22.81-km length, the many turns, height differences and trees bordering it, was rightfully considered one of the most difficult and dangerous and was referred to among drivers nothing less than “Green Hell".


     The previous Grand Prix in Great Britain set a record for the number of participants, most of whom were British, who this time decided to skip the German stage, preferring to compete in home Daily Mail Trophy race. Nevertheless, the German Grand Prix turned out to be no less representative due to the numerous German racers who performed on Veritas, AFM and BMW cars. But the favorite of the Grand Prix, as before, was the team from Maranello, which won all the races of the season and was represented, as usual, by three drivers: Ascari, Farina and Taruffi. At the same time, Alberto Ascari, having won the previous three stages, could become world champion already in Germany, provided that he wins in the Nurburgring. In addition to the drivers of the factory team, two more identical Ferrari 500 were brought to the start of the German Grand Prix by Rudy Fischer and Roger Laurent.

      The Gordini team was also represented by three drivers: Manzon, Trintignant and Behra, who has already recovered from a shoulder injury sustained in non-championship race in France. At the same time, Prince Bira, who failed to earn a single point in the previous races, left the team of Amadeus Gordini. The only British team to take part in the German Grand Prix was the HWM team, which was represented by Peter Collins, Paul Frere and Johnny Claes.

     Also at the German stage, the Maserati team returned to the World Championship, which missed the first half of the season due to the development of its A6GCM car. The only driver of the team was "Pirate" Felice Bonetto, who replaced Juan Manuel Fangio, who was injured at the beginning of the season.



     Qualifying was again held with the overwhelming advantage of the Ferrari team, and the pole position was won by the leader of the championship, Alberto Ascari, who showed a time of 10’04.4. The 1950 world champion Farina showed the second time, almost 3 seconds behind Alberto, which, given the length of the track, was not very much. The third Ferrari driver Taruffi was not very fast this time and lagged behind Ascari by as much as 22 seconds, losing not only to his teammates, but also to two Gordini. The fastest driver of the French team this time was Trintignant, who took the 3rd position, which was the best in his career. His partner Manzon lost to Maurice about 6 seconds. and he took 4th place, and Jean Behra, apparently, has not yet fully recovered from his injury and became only 11th.

      It is also worth noting the good speed of Rudy Fischer, who showed the 6th result, and Paul Pitsch, who became the fastest German in qualifying. The Maserati team, contrary to expectations, did not shine with speed, and Bonetto took only 10th place on the starting grid. HWM performed even worse: Frere became only the 13th, and the crankshafts broke down on the cars of Collins and Claes, so the racers failed to complete a single fast lap. And if Claes was allowed to start last, then the organizers forbade Collins to go to the start due to the Englishman's lack of experience on this track.




Start. Ascari and Farina make a great start and take the lead in the race, but "Pirate" Bonetto gets an even better start, who breaks into 4th place. Moreover, Felice, after a few turns, tries to bypass Manzon, but the Frenchman blocks him, and the Italian turns across the track! Trintignant, who was driving behind them twenty meters away, tries to dodge Felice's car, but to no avail, and the Frenchman breaks the front suspension of his Gordini on the rear wheel of the Maserati. Fortunately, Trintignant becomes the only victim of this incident, and the rest of the drivers manage to miss Maserati, although this leads to some chaos in their ranks. Bonetto himself manages to move off only with the help of marshals, as a result of which the Italian, after a lap, is instructed to leave the race. Also, the first retirement was recorded in the race: Gino Bianco withdraws from the Grand Prix due to an engine failure.
Position after the 1st lap: Ascari, Farina, Manzon, Taruffi, Fischer, Behra, Heeks, Gaze, Riess, Aston.
Lap 2: Taruffi passes Manzon, coming in third place, and thus all three factory Ferraris take their usual place at the head of the peleton.


       Behind Niedermayr overtakes Aston and becomes 10th, and Laurent and Claes win back two positions each. On the same lap, for technical reasons, as many as five drivers leave the race: Carini, Pietsch, Helfrich, Frere and Peters.
Lap 3: Claes wins back two more positions and comes in 11th place, Klenk does the same on Veritas. The oil pressure drops on  Aston's car, and the Englishman is forced to leave the race.
Lap 4: Farina makes an unscheduled stop in the pits and drops to 3rd place, missing Taruffi. Behind Krause and Schoeller drop out of the race due to problems with the cars.
Lap 5: Niedermayr makes a mistake and loses three positions at once. Also the rear axle breaks on Cantoni's Maserati, and the Uruguayan leaves the race.
Lap 6: Farina catches up and easily passes Taruffi, regaining 2nd place.


Behind Riess wins back two positions and becomes 7th, and Claes drives into the pits to repair magneto and drops to the penultimate place. Three more drivers are going down due to technical problems: Balsa, Brudes and Bechem.
Lap 7: Klenk wins back three positions at once and takes 7th place, and Gaze has gearbox problems and leaves the race.
Lap 8: Klenk drives into the pits and loses four positions, and Heeks drops out of the race due to problems with the car.
Lap 9: Ascari drives into the pits to replace the wheels without losing the lead. On the same lap, Manzon's Gordini loses one of the wheels! The Frenchman manages to keep the car on the track, but the race is over for him and he loses 4th place.

Lap 10: Farina also drives into the pits to replace the wheels and lets Taruffi through to 2nd place. Behind Laurent passes Riess and comes out in 6th place.


Lap 11: Taruffi, in turn, drives into the pits to replace the wheels, and again drops to 3rd place, missing Farina.
Lap 14: Ulmen overtakes Niedermayr and takes 8th place.
Lap 17: The front suspension breaks on Taruffi's Ferrari, and the Italian has to drive the car on three wheels! This is used by Rudy Fischer, who quickly catches up and bypasses Ferrari, come out in 3rd place.


But Ferrari's problems don't end there. At the end of the lap, Ascari, comfortably leading the race, suddenly drives into the pits and demands to top up the oil! The mechanics service the car as quickly as possible, but Alberto still gives way to Farina, leaving the track in 9 seconds behind him! Thus, the victory that guarantees Ascari the championship title slips out of the Italian's grasp at the very last moment!
The last lap: Ascari rushes in pursuit of his teammate, sweeps along the track like a hurricane and already in the middle of the lap catches up with Farina and passes him!


      Moreover, Alberto drives the remaining half-lap at the same pace, brings his advantage at the finish line to 14 seconds, and wins a magnificent victory, becoming the new world champion! Farina once again finishes second, and it seems that for him this place is the limit of possibilities. The third place goes to Fischer, who was lucky again, getting on podium for second time this season. Taruffi on three wheels manages to reach the finish in fourth place, and Jean Behra, who did not prove himself in this race, becomes fifth.


Interesting facts:

- 10th podium of Alberto Ascari;
- 10th podium of Giuseppe Farina.

Driver standings


Alternative GP results

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