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1953 Swiss Grand Prix

The seventh round of the 1953 World Championship took place on August 23 in Switzerland on the Bremgarten track. The length of the track was 7.28 km, while the drivers had to complete 65 laps. The Bremgarten circuit was unique in that it did not have a single straight line, and numerous turns were interconnected by short curves, while this configuration of the track remained unchanged from its very foundation in 1934.


       At the previous stage in Germany, Alberto Ascari managed to win his second championship title, but the Ferrari team did not think to relax and arrived in Switzerland in full force: Ascari, Farina, Hawthorn and Villoresi. In addition to the factory team, the Swiss Grand Prix was attended by several other drivers in private Ferraris: Louis Rosier, Jacques Swaters, Peter Hirt and Max de Terra. Meanwhile, the main rival of Scuderia Ferrari, Maserati, this time put up four cars for the race, replacing the injured José-Froilan Gonzalez with the famous German driver Hermann Lang, who had the title of the last pre-war European champion. In addition, two more Maseratis A6GCM were brought to the start by private racers Swiss baron Tulo de Graffenried and Brazilian Chico Landi.
      There have also been some changes in Gordini: in place of the absent Harry Schell, who left to compete in the Goodwood sports car race, the American Fred Walker Jr. returned to the team. Forced to miss the previous round in Germany, the HWM team arrived in Switzerland with a new driver line-up of Lance Macklin, Paul Frere and Albert Scherrer, while main team driver Peter Collins also opted to drive at Goodwood. For the same reason, the British teams Cooper and Connaught were absent at the Swiss stage, but one private Cooper was nevertheless brought to the start by the Englishman Ken Wharton.


       Qualification in Switzerland was held on Friday and Saturday, but the second day of training was ruined by heavy rain, so the places at the start were distributed in accordance with the times shown by the drivers on Friday. Fangio was the best this time, who managed to get ahead of Ascari by 0.6 seconds, who became the second. Farina, after his victory in Germany, also felt quite confident and was the third, but Trintignant showed an even more impressive result, who managed to get ahead of half of the Ferrari and Maserati drivers in his Gordini and took fourth place on the grid. Marimon was also quite fast, showing fifth time ahead of Villoresi's and Hawthorn's two Ferraris, which looked rather pale on the Swiss circuit. Eighth was Baron de Graffenried in a private Maserati, ahead of Wharton, who managed to complete a perfect lap in his Cooper, and Bonetto in a factory Maserati. Meanwhile, the newcomer of the Italian team  Hermann Lang lost to all his teammates and became only 11th, which is not surprising, since the German was driving Maserati A6GCM of the previous generation. In addition, training in Switzerland nearly ended in tragedy when third Gordini driver Fred Walker Jr. got into a serious accident and suffered a skull fracture, but, fortunately, the injury was not life-threatening, and the American, although he stopped racing Grand Prix, was able to continue his racing career  in his homeland.




Start. Fangio again starts the best and takes the lead, but Ascari, hanging on the tail of the Maserati, passes the opponent before the end of the lap and gets ahead!


Meanwhile, Hawthorn gets off to a great start, and the Englishman takes third place, while Farina and Trintignant, on the contrary, start badly and fall to 7th and 9th positions. In addition, on the first lap, Rosier and Swaters do not keep their Ferraris on the track and end the race on the side of the road.


Position after lap 1: Ascari, Fangio, Hawthorn, Marimon, Villoresi, Bonetto, Farina, Graffenried, Trintignant, Wharton.
Lap 2: Ascari is clearly faster than Fangio in the race and starts to pull away from him!


Meanwhile, Trintignant manages to pass Graffenried, and the Frenchman rises to 8th place, and Lang also wins back one position, overtaking Macklin.


Besides, already on the second lap, one of the connecting rods in Frere's HWM engine broke, and the Belgian dropped out of the race.
Lap 3: Lang wins back another position, passing Wharton, and already hits the top ten. Behind Behra manages to get ahead of Landi.
Lap 4: Behra overtakes Macklin, and Landi immediately follows the Frenchman!
Lap 5: Marimon makes a mistake, and he loses three positions at once, dropping to 7th place! Meanwhile, Lang wins another position, overtaking Graffenried.


Lap 6: Farina, having spent several laps behind the opponents, goes on the attack and overtakes Bonetto.
Lap 7: Farina passes his teammates Villoresi and Hawthorn one by one and moves up to 3rd place!


Lap 10: Passing through the finish line, Fangio waves to his mechanics, indicating that something is wrong with the car. And indeed, after half a lap Farina catches up with him and easily passes the Argentinean taking second place! At the end of the lap, Juan Manuel drives into the pits, and Bonetto follows him, giving the Argentine his car. Fangio returns to the track in 6th place, and Bonetto, despite the identified problems with the gearbox, takes place in the Argentine's car and drops to 9th place.


Position after 10 laps: Ascari, Farina, Hawthorn, Villoresi, Marimon, Fangio, Trintignant, Lang, Bonetto, Graffenried.
Lap 11: Wharton attacks and passes Graffenried to 10th! On the same lap, Macklin manages to get ahead of Landi.


Lap 13: Villoresi attacks Hawthorn for third place and passes him! On the same lap, Bonetto, despite the absence of third gear, overtakes Trintignant and Lang, and Fangio again calls into the pits due to a puncture in the front wheel! After losing some time in the pits, the Argentine loses two more positions and returns to the track in 9th place.
Lap 16: Fangio catches up with his new teammate Lang and passes him.
Lap 18: Peter Hirt retires with water pump failure.
Lap 19: Lang makes a mistake and misses Wharton and Graffenried at once.
Lap 20: Hawthorn counterattacks Villoresi for third place and takes the lead!


On the same lap, Fangio overtakes Trintignant and takes 7th place.
Position after 20 laps: Ascari, Farina, Hawthorn, Villoresi, Marimon, Bonetto, Fangio, Trintignant, Wharton, Graffenried.
Lap 21: Villoresi turns too wide in one of the corners and touches the fence with his Ferrari nose. At the end of the lap, the Italian drives into the pits to check the car, and after adjusting the steering rods, he returns to the track in 6th place. Meanwhile, Lang, after his mistake, manages to catch up with Graffenried, and the German takes the lead!
Lap 22: Graffenried does not give up and counterattacks Lang, regaining 10th place!
Lap 23: Fangio overtakes Villoresi for sixth! Meanwhile, the struggle between Graffenried and Lang continues, and the German is once again ahead of Baron!
Lap 28: Fangio passes his teammate Bonetto and is already in fifth place!


Lap 29: Fangio is in trouble again! From the exhaust pipe of the Argentine's Maserati, thick smoke is pouring out, which covers the entire track, as a result of which the drivers behind even have to slow down! Juan Manuel manages to reach the pits, but the mechanics, having opened the hood, immediately close it, showing that the engine cannot be restored, and the Argentine has no choice but to leave the car. On the same lap, Macklin has engine problems too, and the Englishman drops out of the race.


Position after 30 laps: Ascari, Farina, Hawthorn, Marimon, Bonetto, Villoresi, Trintignant, Wharton, Lang, Graffenried.
Lap 31: Lang, having managed to break away from Graffenried, catches up with Wharton and passes him, moving up to 8th place.
Lap 32: Villoresi attacks Bonetto for 5th place and passes him!
Lap 33: Marimon, who have been closing the gap on Hawthorn for several laps, catches up with the Englishman and passes him, taking 3rd place!


Lap 34: Villoresi's Ferrari has overheating problems due to a warped nose and the Italian enters the pits to top up the water, dropping to 7th.
Lap 38: On Behra's Gordini, the oil pump fails, forcing the Frenchman to pit and retire.
Position after 40 laps: Ascari, Farina, Marimon, Hawthorn, Bonetto, Trintignant, Villoresi, Lang, Wharton, Graffenried.
Lap 41: The engine on Ascari's Ferrari suddenly changes tone and starts losing power! The world champion immediately turns into the pits, where the mechanics begin to figure out what's wrong. Even the chief designer Lampredi joined the inspection, and two minutes later the cause was discovered: one of the carburetors was clogged. One hammer blow and the engine roared at full revs again. Ascari immediately breaks off and rushes to the track, however, due to the lost time, the Italian loses the lead and drops to 4th place! Farina is now the new leader.
Lap 44: Trintignant, who was in 6th place, retires due to a broken rear axle.
Lap 45: Marimon has problems! The Argentinian, already in 2nd place, loses speed due to engine overheating, and Hawthorn passes him again!
Lap 47: The engine in Marimon's Maserati fails completely, and the young Argentinian drops out of the race, saying goodbye to the hope of getting on the podium.
Lap 48: After Marimon's retirement, the Ferrari drivers clearly claim to take the entire podium, and the team manager Nello Ugolini orders the drivers to save their cars and slow down. On the same lap, Graffenried manages to get ahead of Wharton, and the Swiss goes to 7th place.
Lap 49: Wharton counterattacks Graffenried and regains 7th position!
Lap 50: Farina and Hawthorn obviously heeded the order from the pits and slowed down, but this does not apply to Ascari, who is still going as fast and is starting to quickly catch up with his teammates!


Meanwhile, Villoresi drives into the pits again to change the right rear wheel and lets Lang through, while Graffenried is out of the race with a transmission failure.
Position after 50 laps: Farina, Hawthorn, Ascari, Bonetto, Lang, Villoresi, Wharton, Landi, de Terra.
Lap 52: Ascari catches up with Hawthorn and passes him for 2nd!

Lap 54: Ascari catches up to Farina and Giuseppe lets the Ferrari leader overtake him without a fight, resulting in Alberto taking the lead again!
Lap 55: Landi has trouble with shifting gears and the Brazilian heads to the pits to retire.
Lap 56: Villoresi passes Lang and moves up to 5th.
Lap 57: Villoresi again has to drive into the pits to top up the water, and once again he misses Lang, whom he overtook the lap earlier!
Last lap: Ascari crosses the finish line first and wins his fifth Grand Prix of the season! However, despite the fact that the Italian again surpassed all rivals in this race, this victory became possible for him only thanks to the compliance of his teammates, who obeyed the order from the pits and let Alberto into first place. Following the Italian, Farina and Hawthorn finish, providing Ferrari with a triple podium, but confusion and dissatisfaction with the final result of the Grand Prix were clearly read on the faces of the drivers. Fourth place went to Bonetto, who shared both his car and points with Fangio, but it was a disappointment for Maserati as the Modena team failed to finish on the podium for the first time this season due to reliability issues. The last two points for fifth place goes to the veteran Grand Prix racer Lang, who managed to show a good performance in his first Grand Prix after a 14-year break. For Luigi Villoresi, the race, on the contrary, was extremely unsuccessful, and after four unscheduled pit-stops, the Italian finishes only in sixth place.


Interesting facts:

- Alberto Ascari's last victory;

- Juan Manuel Fangio's 10th pole position;
- Hermann Lang's first points.

Driver standings


Alternative GP results

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