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1952 Italian Grand Prix

The seventh and last round of the 1952 World Championship took place on September 7 in Italy at the famous Monza circuit. The length of the track was 6.3 km, while the drivers had to complete 80 laps.

Monza 1950.jpg

      The Ferrari team, having won all the previous championship races, came to the track with a firm determination to finish the season on a high note and repeat the achievement of Alfa Romeo two years ago, which in 1950 did not concede a single Grand Prix to its rivals. For this purpose, Commendatore brought to Monza as many as five cars, which were driven by Ascari, Farina, Villoresi, Taruffi, as well as the reserve driver Andre Simon. In addition, three more Ferrari 500 were brought to the start by private drivers Louis Rosier, Rudy Fischer and Charles de Tornaco.

       The Maserati team, which missed almost the entire season, decided to put their cars in the last race of the championship, using the last opportunity to assess the balance of forces before the start of the new season. Unlike the German Grand Prix, where the team was represented only by Felice Bonetto, this time three drivers got behind the wheel of the factory Maseratis: Bonetto himself, Jose-Froilan Gonzalez and the team's test driver Franco Rol.

      In the Gordini team, the line-up of the drivers remained unchanged: Manzon, Behra and Trintignant, and the HWM team this time provided only two cars for Collins and Macklin. In the Connaught team, the main drivers Poore and McAlpine have now been joined by Stirling Moss, who left the ERA team due to constant engine failures on its cars. Cooper cars this time were represented by four drivers: Hawthorn, Brown, Brandon and Wharton, who had previously performed on Frazer-Nash.


       Given the large number of announced drivers, the organizers of the Grand Prix decided to limit the number of participants to 24 for safety reasons, which led to a rather sharp struggle in qualifying. The fastest, as always, were the Ferrari drivers, and Alberto Ascari won another pole position, already the fifth this season. Villoresi was second, just 0.9 sec. behind Alberto and ahead of Farina by 0.4 sec. The fourth place went to Trintignant, who was only 1.5 sec. behind Ascari and turned out to be the fastest Gordini driver again. Gonzalez, driving for Maserati for the first time this season, was also quite fast and showed the 5th time. Taruffi and Simon on two more Ferraris took 6th and 8th places, and Manzon wedged in between them on another Gordini. The top ten was closed by Moss, who used a slip stream behind Ascari on the fastest lap, immediately surpassing his Connaught teammates, and Bayol on OSCA, who managed to show a good time in his first qualifying. Jean Behra was only 11th this time, and Cooper cars also did not shine with speed, the fastest of which was Hawthorn, who took 12th place. Two more factory Maseratis of Bonetto and Rol were only in 13th and 16th places, but the biggest loser became the HWM team, which drivers Collins and Macklin failed to even qualify.




Start. Maseratis take off faster than anyone, and Gonzalez from 5th place breaks into the lead, and Bonetto from 13th place goes to seventh! Ascari did not start well this time and went into the race only second, but his Ferrari teammates had an even worse start and become only 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th, missing not only two Maserati, but also three Gordini. Also on the first lap Bayol has problems with the gearbox, and unfortunately the Frenchman, after an impressive qualification, is forced to leave the race at the very beginning.
Position after the 1st lap: Gonzalez, Ascari, Trintignant, Manzon, Behra, Villoresi, Bonetto, Farina, Taruffi, Simon.
Lap 2: Gonzalez drives faster than Ascari and starts to pull away from him!


Villoresi starts to win back the positions lost at the start and passes Behra, rising to 5th place.


Behind him, Bonetto fights with the three Ferraris, and he gives way to Farina and Taruffi, dropping to 9th place. Hawthorn, who was 11th, begins to have misfire problems, and he lets through Moss and Landi. Meanwhile, Dennis Poore on Connaught wins two positions, overtaking Fischer and Wharton, and Franco Rol on the third Maserati passes Brandon.
Lap 3: Villoresi overtakes Manzon and rises to 4th place. Bonetto counterattacks Taruffi and passes him, and Landi overtakes Moss and becomes 11th.


Besides, Fischer and Hawthorn stop in the pits: the Swiss drops out of the race due to engine problems, and the Englishman spends an hour repairing the magneto and still goes back to the track in the last position.
Lap 4: Villoresi wins back another position, overtaking Trintignant, and comes out already in 3rd place, while the Frenchman also misses his teammate Manzon. Meanwhile, Bonetto's fight with the Ferraris continues, and the three cars from Maranello move "Pirate" to 10th place, while Andre Simon comes forward.


Behind Rol on another Maserati passes McAlpine.
Lap 5: Engine problems force Trintignant to leave the race. Meanwhile Bonetto passes three Ferraris one after another and rises to 6th place, while Farina and Taruffi switch places.


Behind McAlpine comes down due to a broken rear suspension.
Lap 6: Simon and Farina counterattack Bonetto, and Maserati drops two positions. Behind Rol passes Wharton.
Lap 7: Bianco has engine problems, and he drives into the pits for repairs, going down to the end of the peleton.
Lap 8: Simon attacks and passes Behra, rising to 5th place, and Taruffi overtakes Bonetto and becomes 8th.
Lap 9: Villoresi catches up with Ascari and passes him, coming out in 2nd place!


It seems that Alberto is not as good today as in the rest of the races of the season. 
Lap 10: Ascari counterattacks Villoresi and regains 2nd place.


Meanwhile, the leading Gonzalez broke away from this pair for 10 seconds! On the same lap, Behra has problems with the valve mechanism, and he drives into the pits, losing a lot of time there and any hopes for a decent result. Besides, Taruffi overtakes Farina and comes in 6th place, and Rol passes Cantoni and becomes 13th.
Position after 10 laps: Gonzalez, Ascari, Villoresi, Manzon, Simon, Taruffi, Farina, Bonetto, Behra, Landi.
Lap 11: The fight between Ascari and Villoresi continues, and this time Luigi takes the lead. On the same lap, Farina passes Taruffi and becomes 6th.


Lap 12: Ascari overtakes Villoresi again and takes 2nd place.


Bonetto, after some lull behind Ferraris, goes on the attack again and passes Taruffi.


Lap 13: Simon makes a small mistake and is passed by Farina, Bonetto and Taruffi at once.
Lap 14: Farina and Bonetto fight among themselves, passing Manzon's Gordini in the process.


Lap 15: Bonetto still manages to get ahead, and the Italian takes 4th place.


Meanwhile behind Rol passes Poore and becomes the 11th.

Lap 16: The accelerator pedal stucks on Taruffi's Ferrari and the Italian flies off at Lesmo! Fortunately, Piero manages to get back on the track, but he misses Simon. Meanwhile, Poore counterattacks Rol and regains 11th place.


Lap 18: Taruffi drives into the pits to adjust the accelerator pedal. The pit stop takes quite a long time, and Piero returns to the track at the end of the peleton, no longer claiming high places in the race.
Lap 19: Villoresi, briefly abandoning attempts to bypass Ascari, attacks again and passes him!


Also, the struggle between Rol and Poore continues, and this time Maserati goes ahead.
Lap 20: Ascari does not intend to give up 2nd place, he counterattacks Gi-Gi and takes the lead again.


Behind, Poore overtakes Rol again.
Position after 20 laps: Gonzalez, Ascari, Villoresi, Bonetto, Farina, Manzon, Simon, Landi, Moss, Poore.
Lap 21: Villoresi does not give up and overtakes Ascari again!
Lap 22: The incredible struggle of the two Ferraris continues, and Ascari is again in front!

Ascari sruggles with Villoresi in the 1952 Italian Grand Prix

The same interesting battle takes place between Rol and Poore, and this time Maserati is ahead of Connaught.
Lap 23: Poore counterattacks and passes Rol again!
Lap 24: Manzon, who missed Farina and Bonetto10 laps ago, finds the right pace again and overtakes the 1950 world champion.


Lap 25: After a great duel staged with Poore, Rol is forced to get off due to engine failure.
Lap 26: Villoresi makes another attempt to overtake Ascari, which is completed with success. On the same lap, Manzon passes Bonetto and rises to 4th place.
Lap 27: Farina passes Manzon and Bonetto at once and becomes 4th.


Lap 28: Ascari counterattacks Villoresi again and regains 2nd place. Meanwhile Bonetto passes Farina and Manzon one by one and becomes 4th.
Lap 30: It looks like Villoresi has worn out the tires a lot in his fight with Ascari, as Gi-Gi starts to lag behind his teammate.
Lap 31: Farina overtakes Bonetto again and becomes 4th.


Lap 32: Bonetto counterattacks and passes the former champion.
Lap 33: Manzon again interferes in the fight between Bonetto and Farina and manages to get ahead of both of them.
Lap 34: Bonetto drives into the pits to refuel and replace the rear wheels, and now it becomes clear the swiftness of the Maseratis at the start, as well as their amazing speed in the race. If Gonzalez also has a pit stop, then Ferrari will again be the main contenders for victory. Meanwhile, "Pirate" drives back to the track in 7th place.
Lap 35: Taruffi wins back one position after his forced pit stop, overtaking Brandon.
Lap 37: Gonzalez also heads to the pits for refueling and goes back to the track in 4th place. Ascari becomes the new leader, and it looks like the Italian will win this time too. 
Lap 38: Manzon, who has just come in 3rd place, starts having problems with the ignition, and he misses his rivals one by one. Meanwhile, Gonzalez, with a car full loaded, cannot keep Farina behind, and the world champion breaks ahead, rising to 3rd place.
Lap 39: Taruffi moves up one more position ahead of Rosier.
Lap 40: There are engine problems on Moss' Connaught, and the Englishman drives into the pits for a long repair, dropping to last place. Also in the pits is Manzon, and mechanics change spark plugs on his Gordini. Meanwhile Taruffi continues to break through to the top and passes Cantoni, climbing to 10th place.
Position after 40 laps: Ascari, Villoresi, Farina, Gonzalez, Simon, Bonetto, Landi, Poore, Wharton, Taruffi.
Lap 41: Bonetto, after leaving the pits, finds the right pace again and passes Simon's Ferrari, rising to 5th place.
Lap 42: Ascari overtakes Bonetto by a lap, but Felice goes very fast, counterattacks the Ferrari and returns in the lap again!
Lap 43: Ascari tries to get ahead of Bonetto again, but "Pirate" defends himself as if fighting for position. Meanwhile, Jean Behra drops out of the race due to engine problems.
Lap 44: Ascari passes Bonetto again, but Felice comes alongside with Ferrari on the next straight and shows Alberto that he will take the lead again. And indeed, at the end of the straight Maserati again bypasses Ferrari!
Lap 45: Gonzalez is also going faster and faster, and he catches up and passes Farina, coming out in 3rd place.


Lap 46: Ascari finally manages to pass Bonetto and starts pulling away from him.
Lap 47: Bianco's Maserati engine fails and the Brazilian leaves the race.
Lap 48: Taruffi leaves Wharton behind and moves up to 9th place.
Lap 56: Taruffi passes Poore and becomes already 8th.
Lap 60: The suspension breaks on Moss' Connaught, and the Englishman is forced to withdraw from the race. 
Lap 62: Villoresi drives into the pits to change wheels and lets Gonzalez through for 2nd place. However, the struggle for victory is out of the question, since Jose-Froilan loses to the leader Ascari for more than a minute
Lap 63: Taruffi wins back another position, overtaking Landi, and comes out in 7th place.
Lap 66: Poore's Connaught runs out of fuel and the Englishman pulls in to refuel, missing Wharton and Cantoni.
Lap 69: Poore on a heavy car cannot restrain Rosier and lets the Frenchman through.
Last lap: Alberto Ascari, facing a worthy opponent for the first time this season, once again demonstrates his superiority and ends the season with a sixth victory in a row! Moreover, thanks to this victory, Ferrari manages to repeat the achievement of Alfa Romeo by winning all the races of the season! Gonzalez, who finished second in a full minute behind the winner, receives no less than an ovation, having held a great race and demonstrated the power of the new Maserati. Villoresi finishes third, who looked very decent in this race and, together with Ascari, made an amazing spectacle for the audience. The 1950 world champion Farina is not holding his strongest race this time and becomes only the 4th, and the 5th place goes to Bonetto on another Maserati, who spent the entire race fighting rivals and deservedly got the last two points.


Interesting facts:

- Ferrari's 10th victory;
- Ferrari's 10th pole position.

Driver standings


Alternative GP results

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