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1953 German Grand Prix

The sixth round of the 1953 World Championship took place on August 2 in Germany on the famous Nürburgring track, 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".


     After four victories in the previous five rounds of the World Championship, Alberto Ascari in Germany came close to winning his second world title. Only Hawthorn still had a theoretical chance of becoming a champion, but for this the Englishman would need to win all the remaining races of the season. At the same time, both drivers performed for Scuderia Ferrari, so the title in any case went to the team from Maranello, for the second year in a row. The entire Ferrari team did not hide their joy at this occasion and arrived in Germany in high spirits, while the line-up of the drivers, as throughout the season, remained unchanged: Alberto Ascari, Mike Hawthorn, Nino Farina and Luigi Villoresi. In addition to the factory team, several other Ferraris were brought to the start by private drivers Louis Rosier, Jacques Swaters and Kurt Adolff.
      In Maserati, things were not so rosy. One of the team's leading drivers, José-Froilan González, suffered a spinal injury in Portugal in a sports car race a week before the Grand Prix, so Maserati was represented in Germany by only three drivers: Juan Manuel Fangio, Onofre Marimon and Felice Bonetto. In addition, the Swiss baron Tulo de Graffenried was driving another private Maserati.
     The Gordini team, as in the previous round in the Great Britain, entered the race with three cars for Maurice Trintignant, Jean Behra and Harry Schell. The line-up of the Connaught team, which included Roy Salvadori, Prince Bira and Kenneth McAlpine, also remained unchanged. The Cooper team, after one missed Grand Prix, returned to the World Championship with the only driver Stirling Moss, who this time drove an Alta-powered Cooper T23, and in addition two more Coopers were brought to the start by private drivers Alan Brown and Rodney Nuckey. Numerous local drivers also took part in the German Grand Prix on Veritas, AFM and BMW cars, as a result of which the British HWM team did not even find a place in the list of participants and had to miss this Grand Prix.


    Training on Thursday and Friday took place in rainy conditions, and in these two days the drivers went to the track extremely reluctantly. However, on Saturday the weather improved, and all the drivers immediately poured onto the track, trying to show the fastest time. Ascari again proved to be the best in qualifying, having won another pole position with a time of 9’59.8. Fangio managed to show the second time in the Maserati, but he lost to the leader of Ferrari by almost 4 seconds. Meanwhile, Farina, driving another Ferrari, felt quite confident on the German track and showed the third time, losing only 0.4 seconds to the Argentine. Second title contender Hawthorn was fourth, but he was much slower, almost 13 seconds behind Ascari. Trintignant, like a year ago, was very fast in Germany and showed the fifth time, managing to get ahead of Villoresi's Ferrari and two Maseratis of Bonetto and Marimon. The last places in the top ten were taken by the Frenchman's teammates Jean Behra and Harry Schell, and the 11th place went to Baron Graffenried, who drove in a private Maserati. Stirling Moss in Germany looked very good and became 12th, also quite fast was Roy Salvadori, who was 13th. The fastest German in qualifying was Hans Herrmann, who was 14th, losing exactly one minute to pole position.




Start. Fangio has the best start for the second Grand Prix in a row and becomes the leader of the race, but even before the end of the lap, Ascari manages to overtake Argentinean, and by the end of the lap, Alberto is ahead by already 10 seconds! Jacques Swaters also has a great start, and the Belgian breaks from 19th place to 12th. Marimon and Moss, on the contrary, fail the start and lose a lot of positions. Like a year ago, the excellent starting position does not bring Trintignant any benefit, and the Frenchman already on the first lap calls into the pits with a broken differential. In addition to the Frenchman, Stuck and Loof are also out of the race due to problems with the cars.
Position after lap 1: Ascari, Fangio, Hawthorn, Farina, Villoresi, Bonetto, Graffenried, Schell, Behra, Herrmann.
Lap 2: Ascari flies around the track and brings his lead over his rivals to 18 seconds already!


Behind him, Hawthorn and Fangio fight again on the track for second place, and the Englishman takes the lead!


Meanwhile, Marimon and Moss win back several positions lost at the start: the Argentine passes Herrmann and Swaters, and the Englishman passes three rivals at once. McAlpine, on the contrary, loses four positions, driving into the pits, where they change an oily spark plug. Also Salvadori and Bauer leave the race on this lap due to problems with their cars.
Lap 3: Schell attacks Graffenried and takes 7th place!


Behind Helfrich passes Barth, while McAlpine also wins one position, overtaking Claes.


In addition, Günter Bechem is out of the race due to problems with his AFM.
Lap 4: In the middle of the field, Moss passes Brown and Prince Bira overtakes Heeks. Behind, McAlpine wins back another position, overtaking Seidel.


Meanwhile, two more German drivers Fitzau and Adolff are forced to leave the race due to problems with their cars.
Lap 5: Ascari is already 37 seconds ahead of the struggling Hawthorn and Fangio, and it seems that another victory at the Nurburgring is already in Alberto's pocket, but for the first time in two seasons the Italian is let down by his car, and in the last corner his Ferrari unexpectedly loses front right wheel! Ascari manages to react instantly and keep the car on the track, but the Italian has to drive the rest of the lap on three wheels!


Driving into the pit lane at the end of the lap, Alberto, afraid of damaging the brake disc that was touching the roadway, did not use the brakes and applied engine braking, which caused his car to rush past the Ferrari pits and stop only at the very end of the straight. The mechanics with the help of jacks managed to return the Ferrari back to their garage, but there Alberto learns that it will not be possible to put a new wheel on, because the team does not have spare hubs, and the Italian just grabbed his head from this news!


Fortunately, Graffenried's mechanics came to the rescue of their rivals and handed over a suitable hub, after which the Ferrari mechanics quickly fixed the new wheel, and Ascari rushed back to the track with the applause of the spectators. However, this hitch cost the world champion more than four minutes and, as a result, Alberto went to the track only in 9th place!
Meanwhile, after Ascari's pit-stop Hawthorn and Fangio become new leaders of the race and fight for victory again, as in France! On the same lap, Graffenried manages to get ahead of Schell and Bonetto, and the Swiss takes 5th place! McAlpine also wins two more positions, overtaking Helfrich and Barth.


Lap 6: Hawthorn and Fangio continue to fight for the lead, but suddenly Farina, who is in 3rd place, begins to quickly catch up with them, driving 10 seconds faster!


Meanwhile, Moss manages to get ahead of Herrmann and Swaters, and the Englishman moves into 11th place, with McAlpine regaining another position, overtaking Nuckey.


Lap 7: Farina drives the fastest on the track and closes his gap from the leaders to 3 seconds already!


Meanwhile, Bonetto passes Graffenried to 5th place, while Schell and Prince Bira drop out of the race with engine problems.
Lap 8: Farina is simply unstoppable, he passes Fangio, then Hawthorn, and becomes the new leader of the race!


Hawthorn is immediately attacked by Fangio following Farina, and the Englishman drops to the third position at once!


Meanwhile, Moss enters the pits for refueling and loses two positions, and Behra, in the last Gordini remaining in the race, retires due to gearbox problems.
Lap 9: Farina does not slow down at all, shows the fastest lap and is already 10 seconds ahead of Fangio!


The Argentine, in turn, begins to break away from Hawthorn, who seems to be completely unsettled by the loss of leadership. Meanwhile, Ascari passes Graffenried and Bonetto and climbs to 5th place, but it seems that this is the limit for the Italian in this race, since a whole abyss separates him from fourth-placed Villoresi. On the same lap, due to problems with his Veritas, Heeks dropped out of the race.
Lap 10: Ascari drives into the pits, but this time everything is fine with the car, it's just that Ferrari decided to use team tactics! A few minutes later, Villoresi also drives into the pits, and Ascari, taking his car, returns to the track in fourth place and thus gets the opportunity to compete for a place on the podium! Villoresi himself gets a place in Ascari's car, and given the lost time, Luigi enters the track only 13th, without any chance of even getting into the points! Probably, only a strong friendship with Alberto could induce the gray-haired Italian to take such a step.


On the same lap, Herrmann drives into the pits for refueling and lets Moss through, while Brown has problems with the rear suspension, letting Rosier pass the Englishman.
Position after 10 laps: Farina, Fangio, Hawthorn, Ascari, Bonetto, Graffenried, Marimon, Swaters, Moss, Herrmann.
Lap 11: Brown, Nuckey and Seidel drive into the pits to repair their cars on the same lap and lose a few positions.
Lap 12: Ascari flies around the track hoping to catch up with Hawthorn, and shows a new fastest lap!


Meanwhile, Villoresi regains one position by overtaking Rosier, and Barth is out of the race due to exhaust problems.
Lap 13: Ascari drives even faster and closes his gap to Hawthorn to 15 seconds! On the same lap, Moss overtakes Swaters to 8th, Nuckey passes Helfrich and Claes retires with problems on his Connaught.
Lap 14: Ascari showes another fastest lap and is already close to Hawthorn! Meanwhile, Fangio is having exhaust problems, but the Argentine only slows down a bit and continues to hold on to second place.


On the same lap, Marimon, after a not very expressive race, retires with a broken suspension. McAlpine also has problems with the rear suspension, but the Englishman is clearly determined to reach the finish line, and after repairs in the pits he returns to the track.
Lap 15: Blue smoke starts pouring out of Ascari's Ferrari, and the world champion suddenly loses speed! This is used by Bonetto and Graffenried, who pass the smoking Ferrari and push Ascari to 6th place. Meanwhile, Villoresi overtakes Herrmann for 9th place.


Lap 16: Ascari, who has completely lost speed, drives into the pits for the third time in this race, gets out of the car, and muttering “Enough”, leaves the track. Despite the fact that the Italian once again proved himself Master of Nurburgring, this time fortune was clearly not on his side.


Besides, the engines on Villoresi's Ferrari and Brown's Cooper fail on the same lap, and both drivers are eliminated from the race.
Last lap: Farina crosses the finish line first after a superb race and wins his first victory in two years! Fangio finishes second, despite exhaust problems, more than a minute behind the winner. Hawthorn, however, in this race could not keep up with the leaders and finishes only third, as a result of which Ascari still wins here his second champion title, even despite the retirement! The Englishman not only drops out of the race for the championship crown, but also concedes to Farina and Fangio in the overall standings and drops to 4th place! Three points for fourth place goes to "Pirate" Bonetto, who had a rather confident race, and Baron de Graffenried finished fifth, despite problems with the brakes.


Interesting facts:

- Nino Farina's last victory.

Driver standings


Alternative GP results

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