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1954 British Grand Prix

The fourth round of the 1954 World Championship took place on July 17 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

       Two weeks ago, the French Grand Prix saw the triumphant return of Daimler-Benz team to the Grand Prix races, which managed to take first and second places at the first attempt, defeating all its rivals. However, the track at Silverstone did not have such long straights as in Reims, giving Ferrari and Maserati reason to hope that Mercedes with their streamlined bodywork would not be as effective here as in France, especially since this time Neubauer fielded only two cars in the Grand Prix for Juan-Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling.


      Scuderia Ferrari in the UK was represented by the same drivers as in France: Jose-Froilan Gonzalez, Mike Hawthorn and Maurice Trintignant, while all of them went to the start driving intermediate models of Ferrari 625. In Maserati, the line-up of the drivers also remained unchanged, and Onofre Marimon's teammates were again Lancia drivers Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi, who were still waiting for the debut of their new team.
       In the Gordini team, on the contrary, the line-up of the drivers has once again undergone changes, and Jean Behra's teammates this time were Andre Pilette, who has already drove for the team in Belgium, as well as Argentine Clemar Bucci, who made his debut in the World Championship. The British teams in the home Grand Prix were represented by Gilby Engineering and Alfred Owen's team, which, as in France, used Italian cars Maserati 250F. Besides, another British team, led by Tony Vandervell, made here their debut, presenting a brand new car Vanwall Special, which was driven by Peter Collins.


       Numerous local racers also took part in the Grand Prix, most of whom went to the start driving last year's Formula 2 Cooper and Connaught cars, with the exception of Stirling Moss, who drove a Maserati 250F, and Reg Parnell, who piloted a Ferrari 500. The remaining places in the list of participants were taken by private drivers who regularly participated in this season: Harry Schell, Roberto Mieres, Prince Bira, Robert Manzon and Louis Rosier.


Both days of qualifying were overshadowed by rain, and only on Friday morning the racers managed to drive their laps on a dry track, on which Juan-Manuel Fangio turned out to be the fastest again, showing a time of 1’45. However, even the Argentine was not without sin, and during one of the fast laps, he knocked down one of the restrictive cylinders installed in turns along the edges of the track, which left a serious dent on the body of the silver arrow.


However, Neubauer was not particularly worried about this, instructing one of the mechanics to straighten the body, and he did his job well, bringing the car to its original appearance by the start of the Grand Prix. Meanwhile, the Ferraris in the UK were also very quick, and Gonzalez and Hawthorn lost to Fangio by only a second, taking second and third place on the starting field. The fourth was Stirling Moss, who drove a superbly rapid lap in his Maserati 250F, ahead of Jean Behra in the Gordini, who was also quite fast.


Karl Kling did not feel very confident at Silverstone and lost 3 seconds to Fangio, taking 6th place, and the same time was shown by Roy Salvadori from Gilby Engineering and Maurice Trintignant in the third Ferrari. Ken Wharton, unlike the French Grand Prix, had no problems with the car this time, and he showed a good 9th time, and Prince Bira closed the top ten on the same Maserati 250F car as the Englishman. Peter Collins driving the new Vanwall brought the Vandervell team 11th place in the first qualifying, losing the pole position time of 5 seconds. Meanwhile, Alan Brown on Cooper turned out to be the slowest at Silverstone, which is why the Englishman decided to abandon further participation in the Grand Prix. The main losers of qualifying were Maserati drivers who failed to drive a single fast lap due to the fact that their cars were delivered to the wrong port in France, as a result of which they were delivered to the track too late.



On the day of the race it is cloudy again, and it looks like the Grand Prix itself will also be held in the rain. Meanwhile, Maserati has another problem even before the start of the race: oil leaks on Luigi Villoresi's car, forcing the Italian to transfer to a spare car.


Start. Fangio gets off to a poor start and is immediately passed by the two Ferraris of Gonzalez and Hawthorn, as well as Moss, who takes second place! However, Stirling's joy does not last long, and even before the end of the lap, Hawthorn and Fangio pass the Englishman.


Meanwhile, Marimon starts from the end like a rocket and, having passed more than twenty rivals, breaks through to the 6th place! The current world champion Ascari also wins back a lot of positions and becomes the 13th, and Salvadori, on the contrary, fails the start, and loses more than ten positions. Manzon also starts extremely unsuccessfully, who descends from the middle to the very end of the peleton.
Position after the 1st lap: Gonzalez, Hawthorn, Fangio, Moss, Behra, Marimon, Kling, Trintignant, Wharton, Schell.
Lap 2: Behra attacks Moss and takes 4th place, and the Englishman is immediately passed by Marimon! Meanwhile, Schell makes a mistake and loses six positions at once, and Wharton also loses three positions, missing Collins, Ascari and Prince Bira. 
Lap 3: Fangio, as in qualifying, knocks down one of the cylinders on the edge of the track, which leaves a deep dent on the Mercedes body!


Meanwhile, Moss counterattacks his rivals and passes Behra and Marimon on one lap, regaining 4th place, while the Argentine also misses Trintignant. Behind Ascari also continues to break through to the top and passes Collins, rising to 9th place.


Also, Parnell wins back two positions, overtaking Wharton and Pilette, and Villoresi overtakes five rivals at once on one lap and becomes 15th!


Besides, the first retirements are recorded in the race: the engines on Brandon's Cooper and Rosier's Ferrari fail.
Lap 4: Marimon counterattacks Trintignant and takes 6th place!


Behind Villoresi wins back three more positions and becomes 12th, and Mieres wins back four and rises to 18th place.


Meanwhile, Bucci's engine is running intermittently, and the Argentine misses three rivals.
Lap 5: Fangio, who has been hanging on Hawthorn's tail for a while, finally goes on the attack and passes the Englishman, coming out in 2nd place, but Gonzalez has already managed to break away for 5 seconds by the time!


Behind Ascari wins back another position, overtaking Kling's Mercedes, and Salvadori also rises two positions, passing Parnell and Wharton. Meanwhile, Manzon, who failed the start, becomes more active and passes three rivals, rising to 22nd place. Behind Bucci drives into the pits to replace the spark plugs and becomes the last, and Whitehead drops out of the race due to an oil leak on the engine of his Cooper.
Lap 6: Wharton passes Parnell, rising to 15th place, and Manzon wins back three more positions and becomes 19th.


Lap 7: Villoresi passes Prince Bira and takes 11th place. Behind, Mieres manages to get ahead of Schell, and he becomes 17th.


Lap 8: Ascari attacks Trintignant in the fight for 7th place and gets ahead!


Behind Parnell loses two positions, missing Mieres and Schell.
Lap 10: Ascari pulls into the pits, dissatisfied with the handling of his Maserati. Mechanics inspect the car and slightly adjust the steering, after which the Italian goes back to the track, dropping to the very end of the peleton.
Position after 10 laps: Gonzalez, Fangio, Hawthorn, Moss, Behra, Marimon, Trintignant, Kling, Collins, Villoresi. Fangio manages to reduce the gap from Gonzalez to three seconds.


Lap 11: Manzon passes Parnell and rises to 17th place. On the same lap, Whitehouse drives into the pits to fix a problem with the fuel supply, and drops to last place.


Lap 12: Moss attacks Hawthorn in the fight for third place and passes him!


Behind Ascari wins back one position, overtaking Gould.
Lap 13: Salvadori passes Pilette and takes 12th place.


Lap 14: Salvadori wins back another position, overtaking Prince Bira, and becomes 11th. Manzon and Ascari also win back one more position each.
Lap 15: Fangio catches up with Gonzalez, reducing his gap to 1 sec!


Meanwhile, his teammate Kling skids in the Copse turn, and his Mercedes flies off the track! Nevertheless, the German still manages to taxi back, but he misses Collins, who is already in 8th place on his Vanwall!


Behind Manzon has engine problems, and the Frenchman lets Schell through.
Lap 16: Hawthorn counterattacks Moss and regains third place!


Meanwhile, Kling clearly feels uncomfortable on this track, and he loses another position by missing Villoresi.


On the same lap, Pilette manages to overtake Prince Bira, and Manzon drives into the pits with a burnt cylinder block and leaves the race.


Also, Gould drives into the pits, whose front wheel is jammed, but despite the fact that the repair takes about an hour, the Englishman goes back to the track, hoping to still see the finish flag.


Lap 17: The engine on Collins' Vanwall loses power, and the Englishman drives into the pits, leaving the race. In its Grand Prix, Vanwall showed very good speed, and Peter leaves the car clearly disappointed with the outcome of the race.


Meanwhile, Wharton passes Prince Bira and rises to 12th place, and Parnell also wins back one position, overtaking Schell.
Lap 19: Ascari catches up with three British drivers driving behind each other and passes them one by one during one lap! On the same lap, Bucci takes off in the Copse turn and crashes into an earthen embankment! Fortunately, the Argentine manages to avoid injury, but the race is over for him.
Position after 20 laps: Gonzalez, Fangio, Hawthorn, Moss, Behra, Marimon, Trintignant, Villoresi, Kling, Salvadori. Gonzalez manages to pull away from Fangio a little, and the gap between them is now about two seconds.


Lap 21: Wharton passes Pilette and rises to 11th place.


Lap 22: Villoresi attacks Trintignant and takes 7th place! Behind Ascari has problems again, this time with the engine, and the world champion drives into the pits, leaving the race.
Lap 25: Kling gives up another position, missing Salvadori, and drops to 10th place already!


Lap 26: Prince Bira passes Pilette and comes out in 12th place, and behind Reg Parnell parks his Ferrari on the side of the road with a failed engine.
Lap 27: Villoresi drives into the pits, passes his car to Ascari, and now the world champion is back in business! The Italian returns to the track in 10th place, behind Kling. Meanwhile, Pilette loses another position, missing Mieres.


Lap 28: Mieres passes Prince Bira and rises to 12th place.


Lap 29: Ascari quickly catches up and passes Kling, climbing to 9th place.
Position after 30 laps: Gonzalez, Fangio, Hawthorn, Moss, Behra, Marimon, Trintignant, Salvadori, Ascari, Kling. Fangio begins to lag behind Gonzalez and is already behind him for about 5 seconds.
Lap 31: It starts to rain a little, and Moss, who was staying behind Hawthorn, immediately goes on the attack and comes out in third place again!


Meanwhile, Salvadori drives into the pits to repair the fuel tank attachment and descends to the end of the peleton.
Lap 32: Hawthorn counterattacks Moss and takes the lead again!


Lap 34: Moss clearly does not intend to settle for 4th place and passes Mike's Ferrari again!


Lap 36: Hawthorn can't keep up Moss' pace in the rain and starts to fall behind him!


Lap 37: Ascari catches up with Trintignant and passes him, rising to 7th place.


Lap 40: Kling slows down even more in the rain, and now Wharton passes him!


Position after 40 laps: Gonzalez, Fangio, Moss, Hawthorn, Behra, Marimon, Ascari, Trintignant, Wharton, Kling.
Lap 41: Ascari is in trouble again!


The Italian drives into the pits, gets out of the car, and shakes his head: the oil pump has failed. Today was clearly not his day.


Meanwhile, behind Riseley–Prichard flies off the track, crashing his Connaught, and drops out of the race.
Lap 42: Prince Bira feels unwell, drives into the pits and passes his car to the spare driver Ron Flockhart, who returns to the track in 13th place.
Lap 45: Flockhart, after driving only two laps, loses control and flies off the track in the Copse turn! His Maserati crashes into an earthen embankment at full speed, turns over, and the driver falls out of the car, which, after flying a few more meters, freezes on the side of the road with its wheels up.


Paramedics immediately run up to the scene, but Flockhart gets to his feet on his own, miraculously remaining unharmed, and receives a storm of applause from the audience!
Lap 48: Fangio begins to lose fourth gear, and now, when switching to it, the Argentine has to hold the lever with one hand and hold the steering wheel with the other!


Lap 50: Fangio drives too deep into one of the turns and knocks down another cylinder, getting a symmetrical dent on the other side of his Mercedes!


Position after 50 laps: Gonzalez, Fangio, Moss, Hawthorn, Behra, Marimon, Trintignant, Wharton, Kling, Mieres. Due to problems with the gearbox, Fangio loses pace, and Moss and Hawthorn chasing him begin to catch up.
Lap 54: Jean Behra has problems with the rear suspension, and he lets through Marimon to 5th place and leaves the track, losing another points this season!


Meanwhile, Salvadori is also dropping out of the race due to transmission problems.
Lap 55: Moss catches up with Fangio struggling with the gearbox and easily passes the Argentine's Mercedes to the stormy applause of his compatriots!


Lap 58: Three laps later, Hawthorn also catches up with Fangio and pushes the Argentine back to 4th place!


Position after 60 laps: Gonzalez, Moss, Hawthorn, Fangio, Marimon, Trintignant, Wharton, Kling, Mieres, Pilette.
Lap 64: Whitehouse drops out of the race due to problems with the fuel supply system.


Lap 67: Schell has problems with the car, and he drives into the pits, missing Gerard.


Lap 70: Mieres catches up with Kling and passes him, rising to 8th place!
Lap 72: Wharton drives into the pits and drops to 10th place.
Lap 78: Marimon catches up with Fangio and also passes his mentor without any problems!


Lap 80: Moss has problems with the rear suspension ten laps before the finish, and the Englishman turns into the pits! Unfortunately, the mechanics are powerless to do anything, and Stirling leaves the race, losing the hard-won second place!


Last lap: After a flawless race, Jose-Froilan Gonzalez is the first to cross the finish line and wins the British Grand Prix, bringing Ferrari its first victory of the season!


Moreover, thanks to this victory, the young Argentine takes second place in the standings, becoming Fangio's main rival in the fight for the title! His teammate Hawthorn finishes second, who brings Ferrari a double in this race and consolation to English fans disappointed with Moss' retirement. The last place on the podium goes to Marmon, who had a great race, finishing third after starting from the last row of the starting field. Meanwhile, Fangio manages to bring his beaten Mercedes to 4th place, allowing the German team to avoid a complete fiasco on English soil. Two points for fifth place goes to Trintignant, who did not show himself in this race in any way. Besides, one point for the fastest lap in the race is shared by seven drivers at once: Fangio, Moss, Gonzalez, Hawthorn, Behra, Ascari and Marimon, who each receive 0.14 points for it.


Interesting facts:

- Jose-Froilan Gonzalez's last victory;

- Vanwall team's debut.

Driver standings


Alternative GP results

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