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1953 British Grand Prix

The fifth round of the 1953 World Championship took place on July 18 in Great Britain at the Silverstone circuit. The length of the track was 4.711 km, while the drivers had to complete 90 laps.

Silverstone 1952.jpg

       After a great performance by Mike Hawthorn in France, all the attention of the local public was riveted on the young Englishman, who brought the British crown the first victory in the World Championship races and went to second place in the overall standings, becoming Ascari's main rival in the fight for the title. This success spurred interest in the already popular British Grand Prix, and about 100,000 spectators gathered at Silverstone during the racing weekend, who, of course, hoped for the victory of their young compatriot.
     Meanwhile, Scuderia Ferrari team, for which Hawthorn performed, arrived in the UK in their usual line-up, with Alberto Ascari, Nino Farina and Luigi Villoresi driving the scarlet cars.


       The Maserati team also retained the previous line-up of drivers and was represented by three Argentines Juan Manuel Fangio, José-Froilan Gonzalez and Onofre Marimon, as well as Italian Felice Bonetto. In addition, Louis Rosier and Baron Tulo de Graffenried took part in the Grand Prix at the wheel of private Ferrari and Maserati.
       The Gordini team after a not very successful home Grand Prix decided this time not to involve temporary drivers and put up only three cars for Maurice Trintignant, Jean Behra and Harry Schell. But the British teams, on the contrary, took advantage of the proximity of their bases and performed in an expanded format. At Connaught, a pair of main drivers Prince Bira and Roy Salvadori were joined by third driver Kenneth McAlpine, and HWM was represented by four drivers Peter Collins, Lance Macklin, Duncan Hamilton and debutant Jack Fairman. Meanwhile, the Cooper team, which performed unsuccessfully in France, decided to take a break again and did not take part in the home Grand Prix, however, as many as six Cooper cars were brought to the start by British private drivers Ken Wharton, Bob Gerard, Jimmy Stewart, Alan Brown, Peter Whitehead and Tony Crook.


      Both days of qualifying were rainy, with Alberto Ascari once again the fastest to claim another pole position with a time of 1'48. However, the Maseratis were also very fast and second place on the grid went to Gonzalez, who was only a second behind Ascari and managed to get ahead of his mentor Fangio, who took 4th. Local hero Hawthorn also lived up to his countrymen's expectations and managed to match the time with Gonzalez, earning third place on the starting field and receiving an approving pat on the back from the team manager Nello Ugolini. At the same time, Mike for the first time managed to get ahead in qualifying of his teammates Farina and Villoresi, who got 5th and 6th places. Marimon, as usual, was slightly behind his Argentine teammates, and took 7th place, followed by the two Gordinis of Trintignant and Schell, who this time lost to pole position by only 4 seconds. The third Gordini driver, Jean Behra, could not keep up the high pace of his teammates and ended up only in 22nd place, and Felice Bonetto in a Maserati also performed unsuccessfully and became only 16th. The fastest British drivers were Tony Rolt in a privately owned Connaught and Ken Wharton in a Cooper, who showed identical time and became 10th and 11th. HWM also looked good at the home Grand Prix and Lance Macklin was 12th, once again ahead of Peter Collins. For Louis Rosier and Tulo de Graffenried, qualifying turned into a nightmare and they were forced to start only from 24th and 26th respectively, while Roy Salvadori could not complete a single fast lap at all and was forced to start last.




Start. Fangio gets off to a great start and the Argentine takes the lead, but he makes a small mistake in the first corner and is immediately passed by Ascari! Hawthorn, on the contrary, starts very badly, missing Villoresi and Marimon, and the audience is clearly not to their liking. Felice Bonetto, as always, manages a lightning start, and the Italian breaks through to 11th place, and Brown, Collins and Salvadori also have a great start, who find themselves in the middle of the field. Meanwhile, due to problems with the fuel supply, McAlpine and Crook cannot even move, and both Englishmen are eliminated from the race.
Position after lap 1: Ascari, Fangio, Gonzalez, Villoresi, Marimon, Hawthorn, Farina, Schell, Trintignant, Macklin.
Lap 2: Gonzalez attacks Fangio for 2nd place and takes the lead! Hawthorn also starts to win back positions lost at the start and passes Marimon, taking 5th place. Meanwhile, Bonetto clearly feels more confident in the race than in qualifying and is already in the top ten, having passed Macklin. Behind, Collins wins back two positions, overtaking Wharton and Brown, and Graffenried also rises two places.
Lap 3: Hawthorn flies off in the Woodcote turning 180 degrees!


It looks very dangerous, the car bounced on a bump and almost rolled over, but, fortunately, Mike manages to get back to the track, although he loses a few positions. At the end of the lap, the Englishman drives into the pits to check the car, and the mechanics discover a small leak in the fuel tank, which is likely to have caused the spin. It takes a whole lap to fix the problem, and as a result, Mike returns the track in last place.
Meanwhile, Farina manages to get ahead of Marimon, and he takes 5th position, while Schell, on the contrary, loses two positions, missing Trintignant and Bonetto. In addition, Behra, Gerard, Salvadori and Graffenried win back one position each.
Lap 4: Schell's Gordini has magneto problems and the American heads to the pits to retire. Meanwhile, Salvadori wins back another position, overtaking Brown.
Lap 5: Fuel pump problems force Wharton into the pits, dropping the Englishman to last place. Meanwhile, Salvadori overtakes Gerard and moves up another position!
Lap 6: A crack develops in the exhaust pipe of Trintignant's Gordini and the Frenchman drives into the pits where mechanics are moving a similar part from Schell's car. However, due to repairs, Maurice loses a lot of time and enters the track in last place. Meanwhile, Rolt manages to get ahead of Macklin, and he is already in 8th place, and Ian Stewart loses two positions, missing Prince Bira and Graffenried.


Lap 7: Graffenried is ahead of four opponents on one lap and is already in 14th place!


Brown, on the contrary, loses three positions, and Whitehead, due to problems with the brakes, drives into the pits, where the mechanics make adjustments, after which the Englishman drives back to the track.
Lap 8: Jean Behra passes Jimmy Stewart to 11th.


Meanwhile, Graffenried's Maserati misfires and the Swiss misses three rivals. Gerard also has problems with the front suspension, causing the Englishman to leave the race.
Lap 9: Roy Salvadori overtakes Jean Behra and Jimmy Stewart to 11th!


Meanwhile, Graffenried's ignition problems continue, causing the Baron to miss a number of other rivals.
Lap 10: Brown passes Ian Stewart to 15th.
Position after 10 laps: Ascari, Gonzalez, Fangio, Villoresi, Farina, Marimon, Bonetto, Rolt, Macklin, Collins. Ascari, albeit with difficulty, manages to break away from Gonzalez a little, bringing the gap between them to about 6 seconds.


Lap 11: Brown passes Prince Bira to 14th. Meanwhile, Hawthorn finally manages to catch up with the rest of the field, and the Englishman wins back one position, overtaking Rosier.


Lap 13: Jimmy Stewart attacks Behra for 12th place as Hawthorn moves up another position to pass Fairman.
Lap 14: Gonzalez's Maserati starts to leak oil, which remains throughout the trajectory of the track! The marshals are waving warning flags and the British drivers are slowing down, but this is not the case with Ascari, who continues to drive just as fast! Meanwhile, Hawthorn overtakes Hamilton, and Trintignant again has problems, this time with a rear axle, which forces him out of the race.
Lap 15: Gonzalez continues to pour oil on the track, and the marshals show the black flag to the Argentine! However, Jose-Froilan does not pay any attention to it and continues the race!


Behind, Hamilton retires from the race with clutch problems.
Lap 16: Oil leak problem on Gonzalez's Maserati seems to have resolved itself, but the marshals continue to wave the black flag to the Argentinian, which he still ignores! Meanwhile, Bonetto drives into the pits to change spark plugs and carburetors and descends to the very back of the field.


17th lap: Gonzalez finally submits to the black flag and stops in the pits, where the officials are already waiting for him. However, the excited Argentine is not going to leave the race at all and begins to prove hotly that the problem of the leak has already been resolved, and he has the right to continue the fight! After inspecting the car, the officials agree with the Argentinean, and José-Froilan, having received permission to leave, immediately rushes back to the track, but as a result of this stop, he loses two positions and misses Fangio and Villoresi.
Lap 19: Prince Bira attacks Brown for 13th and takes the lead.


Meanwhile, Hawthorn continues to break through to the top and overtakes Ian Stewart.
Lap 20: Hawthorn passes Prince Bira and Brown, taking 13th place!


Meanwhile, Ian Stewart has ignition problems and lets Fairman through.
Position after 20 laps: Ascari, Fangio, Villoresi, Gonzalez, Farina, Marimon, Rolt, Macklin, Collins, Salvadori.
Lap 21: Salvadori passes Collins and is already 9th!


Meanwhile, Ian Stewart continues to lose ground and misses Rosier.
Lap 23: Hawthorn attacks Behra for 12th place and takes the lead!


Lap 25: Ian Stewart's ignition problems become critical and the Englishman leaves the race.
Lap 30: Behra's last Gordini suffers fuel supply problems and the Frenchman enters the pits, retiring.
Position after 30 laps: Ascari, Fangio, Villoresi, Gonzalez, Farina, Marimon, Rolt, Macklin, Salvadori, Collins. At the same time, the leader Ascari manages to increase his lead over Fangio, who is in second place, to 20 seconds.


Lap 31: Macklin's HWM suffers clutch problems and the Englishman misses Salvadori and a lap later heads into the pits to retire. On the same lap, Hawthorn overtakes Jimmy Stewart and goes to 11th place.
Lap 33: Hawthorn passes Collins and is already in the top ten!


Lap 34: Prince Bira makes a small mistake and is passed by both Brown and Fairman.
Lap 35: An unsuccessful race for Baron Graffenried ends with a broken accelerator pedal.
Lap 37: Collins enters the pits for refueling and drops one place behind Jimmy Stewart.
Lap 38: Prince Bira wins back one position, overtaking Fairman.
Lap 43: Marimon attacks Farina for 5th place and takes the lead!


On the same lap, Bonetto is ahead of Rosier.


Lap 47: A fan belt is torn on Brown's Cooper, and the Englishman drives into the pits for repairs, dropping to last place.
Position after 50 laps: Ascari, Fangio, Villoresi, Gonzalez, Marimon, Farina, Rolt, Salvadori, Hawthorn, Jimmy Stewart.
Lap 51: Roy Salvadori, having had a great race, is forced to retire with a broken radius-arm.
Lap 54: Wharton moves up one position, overtaking Rosier.


Lap 55: Gonzalez refuels without losing 4th place, but after leaving the pits, the Argentine lets Marimon and Farina close, who continue the fight for 5th place. Meanwhile, another clutch failure on HWM takes Fairman out of the race.
Lap 56: Farina, who has been hanging on Marimon's tail for more than 10 laps, finally manages to overtake, and the Italian takes 5th place.


Lap 57: Collins flies off in the Chapel corner and his HWM stalls in the grass! The Englishman jumps out of the car and runs to the nearest Becketts corner, where several mechanics from his team were known to be located, but even with their help, the car fails to start, and Peter leaves the race!
Lap 66: Villoresi, comfortably in 3rd place, has to pull over with a broken rear axle!


On the same lap, the engine on Marimon's Maserati exploded, and the Argentine drops out of the race.


As a result of these retirements, as well as overtaking Tony Rolt, Hawthorn is already in 5th place!


Lap 67: Farina attacks Gonzalez for 3rd place and succeds!


Lap 68: Whitehead overtakes Rosier and the Frenchman drops to last place.
Position after 70 laps: Ascari, Fangio, Farina, Gonzalez, Hawthorn, Rolt, Jimmy Stewart, Bira, Bonetto, Wharton.
Lap 71: Tony Rolt, having made a great debut race, pulls over with a broken halfshaft.
Lap 75: With fifteen laps to go, the unsettled British weather makes itself felt and a downpour hits the track!
Lap 76: The drivers slow down on the wet track just trying to get to the finish line, but Ascari is still the fastest in these conditions, only slowing down a little on the corners!


Lap 77: Prince Bira has double spin on the wet track and he misses Bonetto for 7th.
Lap 80: Jimmy Stewart, now in 6th place, doesn't hold his Cooper in Copse and crashes! Fortunately, the accident goes without consequences for the Scot, but the race is over for him.
Last lap: Ascari, after two not very convincing races in Belgium and France, shows a phenomenal performance again and wins the British Grand Prix! Moreover, this victory brings him another Grand Slam, already the fourth in his career, and brings him very close to his second championship title! The second place goes to Fangio, but the Argentine clearly could not keep up with Ferrari today and concedes to the winner for a whole minute! Farina finishes third, but he clearly lacked speed in this race, and he has been losing to the winner for two whole laps! Gonzalez, who started the Grand Prix so briskly, gets only the fourth place, and the Argentine is clearly disappointed, having missed the opportunity to get on the podium due to a forced stop in the pits. The last two points go to the local hero Hawthorn, who put on a real show for his compatriots, managing to break through from the back rows to fifth place after his spin at the very beginning of the race.


Interesting facts:

- Alberto Ascari's fourth Grand Slam;
- 10th podium for Juan Manuel Fangio.

Driver standings


Alternative GP results

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