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1953 Italian Grand Prix

The eighth and final round of the 1953 World Championship took place on September 13 in Italy on the famous Monza circuit. The length of the track was 6.3 km, while the drivers had to go through 80 laps.

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       Before the final stage, Enzo Ferrari turned the whole world of Grand Prix on the ears, saying that his team would leave motorsport at the end of the season. Given the ardent nature of the head of the Scuderia, not everyone took this statement seriously, but interest in the last stage of the World Championship increased many times over, and the stands were completely filled. At the same time, the team itself somewhat refuted the statement of its founder, putting up for participation in the Grand Prix not only the main Ferrari 500 cars for Ascari, Farina, Hawthorn and Villoresi, but also the new Ferrari 553 cars intended for participation in the next season, which were driven by Umberto Maglioli and Piero Carini. It was obvious that Ferrari wanted to test new cars before the new season, building two hybrid cars with a new chassis and a 2-liter Formula 2 engine for this purpose.

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Meanwhile, the Maserati team arrived in Monza with four cars, three of which were allocated to the main team drivers Fangio, Marimon and Bonetto, and the fourth was intended for testing two world championship rookies Sergio Mantovani and Luigi Musso.

       Besides, three more private Maseratis were brought to the start by the Swiss Baron Tulo de Graffenried, the Brazilian Chico Landi, and the Siamese Prince Bira, who left the Connaught team.
       The Gordini team, as usual, put up three cars for the race, driven by two main drivers Maurice Trintignant and Harry Schell, as well as the reserve driver Roberto Mieres, who replaced Jean Behra, who left for the Tour de France. In the Connaught team, the two main drivers Roy Salvadori and Kenneth McAlpine this time were joined by Jack Fairman, who replaced Prince Bira. The Cooper team arrived in Italy with sole driver Stirling Moss and a redesigned T24 that was fitted with direct fuel injection to boost the power of the Alta engine. Besides, two more Coopers T23 were brought to the start by private drivers Ken Wharton and Alan Brown. The HWM team, as usual, was represented by three drivers, which this time were Lance Macklin, Yves Giraud-Cabantous and American rookie John Fitch, while Peter Collins missed the second Grand Prix in a row.
      In addition to the factory team cars, there were also OSCA cars in Italy, driven by Elio Bayol and Louis Chiron, who had already taken part in the French Grand Prix.

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The only German representative at Monza was Hans von Stuck, who, like in Germany, drove his Bristol-powered AFM.

Qualification

      Given the high-speed configuration of Monza circuit, Maserati with their powerful 6-cylinder engines seriously expected to compete for pole position, but Alberto Ascari in Ferrari was the fastest again with a time of 2’02.7. However, Maserati leader Fangio managed to take second place at the start, only half a second behind the world champion. Third place on the grid went to Farina, who was already more than a second behind Ascari and only 0.2 seconds ahead of Marimon, who had his best qualifying of the season. The young Argentine was followed by Villoresi, Hawthorn and Bonetto, and eighth place went to Trintignant, who again became the fastest driver not driving a Ferrari or Maserati. Stirling Moss closed the top ten, having managed to demonstrate a good speed of the updated Cooper, while the new Ferrari 553 cars did not shine with speed and took only 11th and 20th places on the starting field.

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Race

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Start. At the wave of the checkered flag, the cars take off, and Ascari and Marimon do it best of all and become the leaders of the race! Fangio this time was a little hesitant, dropping to fourth place, Bonetto starts even worse, falling outside the top ten. In contrast, Moss and Landi get off to a great start, taking 5th and 10th positions respectively. Meanwhile, for Maserati's newcomer Mantovani, the debut Grand Prix does not start in the best way, as the Italian stalls at the start, and he manages to start moving only with outside help, as a result of which he is penultimate, ahead of Bayol, who started from the pits.
Position after lap 1: Ascari, Marimon, Farina, Fangio, Moss, Graffenried, Villoresi, Hawthorn, Trintignant, Landi.
Lap 2: Marimon puts pressure on the world champion and Ferrari and Maserati start the second lap practically side by side!

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Nevertheless, Ascari manages to keep the lead, and by the end of the lap he breaks away from the Argentine by half a second. On the same lap, Villoresi gets ahead of Graffenried and takes 6th place.

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Lap 3: Marimon begins to lose ground, and Farina and Fangio pass him, changing places at the same time!

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Bonetto also regained one position, overtaking Mieres' Gordini.

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Meanwhile, Stirling Moss, who started the race well, notices an oil plume behind his car and drives into the pits, but a quick check shows that everything is in order with the car, and the Englishman, having missed most of his rivals, returns to the track at the end of the field.

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Lap 4: Hawthorn and Trintignant overtake Graffenried on the same lap and the Swiss drops to 8th, while behind them Salvadori passing Schell  to 10th.

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Lap 5: Trintignant attacks Hawthorn for 6th place and passes him!

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Behind Bonetto wins back another position, overtaking Schell.

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Lap 6: Hawthorn counterattacks Trintignant and takes the lead again!

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Lap 7: Fangio attacks Ascari and becomes the new leader of the race!

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Behind Bonetto wins back another position getting ahead of Salvadori. On the same lap, the engine on Macklin's HWM fails, and the Englishman drops out of the race.
Lap 8: On Claes' Connaught fuel line breaks and the Belgian retires.
Lap 9: Ascari counterattacks Fangio and regains the lead! Moreover, this overtaking is used by Farina, who also manages to pass the Argentine! Behind, Bonetto gets ahead of Landi and is already in 9th place!

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Lap 10: Farina does not stop there and now attacks Ascari, taking the lead in the race!

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Position after 10 laps: Farina, Ascari, Fangio, Marimon, Villoresi, Hawthorn, Trintignant, Graffenried, Bonetto, Landi. At the same time, the four leaders are in a very tight group, within two seconds!
Lap 11: Fangio passes Ascari and Farina one by one, and becomes the leader again!

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Lap 12: Farina counterattacks Fangio and takes the lead again!

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Lap 13: Ascari attacks Fangio for second place and passes the Argentinian!
Lap 14: Farina also succumbs to the onslaught of Ascari, and the world champion takes the lead again!
Lap 15: Trintignant attacks Hawthorn again and passes him!

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Meanwhile, the engine on Fitch's HWM fails and the American pulls over to the side of the road.
Lap 16: Hawthorn counterattacks Gordini again and takes the lead!

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Lap 18: The engine fails on Bayol's OSCA, ending the Frenchman's rather unsuccessful race.
Lap 19: One of the pistons burns out in the engine of Chico Landi's Maserati and the Brazilian also leaves the race, losing 10th place.
Position after 20 laps: Ascari, Farina, Fangio, Marimon, Villoresi, Hawthorn, Trintignant, Graffenried, Bonetto, Salvadori. The four leaders continue to drive in a tight bunch!
Lap 24: Fangio attacks Farina for second place and passes him!
Lap 25: Fangio attacks Ascari to take the lead and the world champion is immediately attacked by Farina, dropping Alberto to 3rd!

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Meanwhile, Fairman is having problems with an oil leak, and the Englishman drives into the pits for repairs, wasting a lot of time there.
Lap 26: Farina manages to get ahead of Fangio and the Italian takes the lead again!

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Lap 27: Fangio counterattacks Farina and takes the first position from him!

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Lap 28: Ascari also passes Farina and takes second place!

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Lap 29: Ascari outruns Fangio and takes the lead again!

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Lap 34: Fangio again goes on the attack and passes Ascari!

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On the same lap, Salvadori retired from the race due to throttle problems.
Lap 36: Ascari counterattacks Fangio and takes the lead again!

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Lap 38: Farina also attacks the Argentinian and takes 2nd place!

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Lap 39: Mantovani, having broken through from the end of the field to 11th place, enters the pits and gives way to another rookie Musso, who returns to the track without losing any places.
Position after 40 laps: Ascari, Farina, Fangio, Marimon, Villoresi, Hawthorn, Trintignant, Graffenried, Bonetto, Mieres. Between the four leaders is still no more than two seconds!
Lap 41: Fangio overtakes Farina and Ascari one by one and takes the lead again! On the same lap, the engine on Carini's hybrid Ferrari 553 fails, and the Italian retires.
Lap 42: Ascari counterattacks the Argentine and regains the first position!

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Lap 43: Hawthorn and Trintignant, who have been battling each other throughout the race, drive ever faster and catch up with Villoresi in 5th place!

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Meanwhile, Rosier pits with problems with his Ferrari and drops to last place.
Lap 44: Hawthorn, trying to pull away from Trintignant, who was chasing him, attacks teammate Villoresi and passes him!

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Behind, Moss drives into the pits to change a punctured tire.
Lap 45: Farina passes Fangio for 2nd place! On the same lap, Villoresi counterattacks Hawthorn and takes the lead!

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Lap 46: Farina overtakes Ascari and takes the lead again! On the same lap Marimon has problems with the oil radiator, and the Argentinean drives into the pits, dropping out of the fight for the victory! Meanwhile, Trintignant goes on the attack and in one turn passes both Ferraris at once!

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Lap 47: Ascari counterattacks Farina, and becomes the leader again! Behind Villoresi and Hawthorn overtake Trintignant one by one, restoring the status quo. Meanwhile, Moss' problems continue: this time the fuel tank leaked, and the Englishman went to the pits for the third time in the race!
Lap 49: After repairs, Marimon returns to the track right into the thick of the leaders and immediately begins to fight for position, despite being three laps behind! It seems that Maserati decided to use team tactics and returned the Argentine to the track only to help Fangio fight for the victory!

Lap 50: Fangio passes Ascari and Farina one by one and takes the lead again!

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Position after 50 laps: Ascari, Farina, Fangio, Villoresi, Hawthorn, Trintignant, Graffenried, Bonetto, Mieres, Musso.
Lap 53: Ascari counterattacks the Argentine and becomes the leader again!

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Lap 60: The leading trio catches up to Hawthorn and Villoresi, losing already a full lap, with the Englishman immediately letting the leaders pass and the Italian letting Ascari through but holding back Fangio, trying to help Alberto break away!
Lap 61: Fangio passes Villoresi, and the Italian is immediately overtaken by Marimon, who tries to cut off his mentor from the Italian's Ferrari.
Lap 65: After several unsuccessful attempts to overtake Marimon, Villoresi gives way and begins to slowly fall behind the group of leaders.
Position after 70 laps: Ascari, Fangio, Farina, Villoresi, Hawthorn, Trintignant, Graffenried, Bonetto, Mieres, Musso. The leading trio of drivers are still within two seconds and it looks like we're in for a grand finale!
Lap 70: The engine on Graffenried's Maserati blows up and the Swiss swerves to the side of the road, losing 7th.
Last lap: For the last lap, the three leaders and Marimon departs almost side by side, and the audience prepares for an incredible spectacle at the finish line. Halfway through the lap, all four race past Bonetto's slowed down Maserati, running out of fuel, and Fangio manages to overtake Farina for second place before the final corner. Ascari enters the last corner in the lead, but, trying to reach maximum speed at the finish line, the Italian drives too quickly, his Ferrari skids, and Marimon immediately crashes into him! As a result, both cars, having grappled, finish the race on the side of the road, Fangio slips past them along the inner edge, and Farina, trying to avoid a collision, still gets hit in the front of the car and, having slowed down a little, loses his last chances to win! Fangio, on the other hand, crosses the finish line first and thus brings Maserati its first World Championship Grand Prix victory! Moreover, thanks to this victory, the Argentine takes second place in the overall standings, having managed to get ahead of Farina! Farina himself eventually finishes second, one and a half seconds behind the Argentine, and Villoresi becomes third, who was lucky enough to see the fight in the last turn with his own eyes, albeit in a circle behind. Fourth finishes Hawthorn, who in this race was remembered only for his struggle with Trintignant, and the Frenchman himself finishes the race in fifth place, gaining points for the second time this season. Felice Bonetto ended up not making it to the finish line, stopping in the last corner, unlike Ken Wharton, who managed to push his Cooper with a failed engine all the way to the finish line.

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Fangio's comments: «Ascari, who stood between me and the victory I needed so badly, took the final curve very sharply and his Ferrari did a half spin. He was hit by Marimon. Farina, whom I had only just overtaken and was breathing down my neck, had to swerve to avoid hitting them. In that split second of danger I was through, winning literally in the 312th mile of a 312-mile race. There was such confusion when we crossed the line that the man didn't put down the chequered flag, so I did another lap with Farina behind me, but all the time I thought they had make a mistake.»

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Interesting facts:

- Luigi Musso's debut;

- Maserati's first victory.

Driver standings

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Alternative GP results

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