#22 1952 Netherlands Grand Prix

2021-04-07 00:00

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#1952, Fulvio Conti, Ludovico Nicoletti, Translated by Monica Bessi,

#22 1952 Netherlands Grand Prix

After the amazing victories obtained in the previous days, the Italian drivers are going to race again on Sunday, August 10, 1952 in St. Gaudens, wher


After the amazing victories obtained in the previous days, the Italian drivers are going to race again on Sunday, August 10, 1952 in St. Gaudens, where the timed run (3 hours) will be held, with Formula 2 cars, that will be valid as the eighth round for the French Grand Prix. Ferrari will be present with Farina, Ascari, the Frenchman Simon and Rosier. The favourites are, obviously, Ascari and Farina who will have to face the four Maseratis driven by Schell, Land, Condini and Crespo and the Gordinis driven by Behra and Manzon. And, in fact, on Friday, August 8, 1952, Alberto Ascari sets the fastest lap time in practices. The Milanese driver covers the 4.40 metres of the brand new track of Comminges in 1'51"3 with an average of 142.546 km/h. Behind him there is the Frenchman Trintignant, who is at the wheel of a Gordini with the same displacement with which sets a time of 1'54"2. The third fastest time is obtained by another Frenchman, Robert Manzon, who drives a Gordini 2100 too and marks a time of 1'54"4. Giuseppe Farina (Ferrari, 1'55"5), Alberto Crespo (2'00"9), Chico Landi (2'13"3) and Eitel Cantoni (2'13"7) follow. The three South American drivers are at the wheel of three Maseratis. During practices the Frenchman André Simon, at the wheel of a Ferrari, loses control of the car when cornering and goes off the track overturning. The driver gets out, unharmed, from under the Ferrari, while there’s already an ambulance on the spot. On Sunday, August 10, 1952 Alberto Ascari takes one of the brightest successes of his career on the circuit of Comminges. The win of the Italian driver seemed faded when at the third lap for a track layout error, was disqualified from the stewards. The driver however, by order of the Ferrari director, takes the wheel of Simon’s car which is stopped at the pits for engine trouble. It is going to be this trivial issue that will give a thrilling and exciting rhythm to a race whose result seems already obvious from the start. When Ascari returns to the race, he is in fourteenth place: with a bold and smart run, the Italian driver manages to recover one by one all the opponents and to be in second place in little more than thirteen laps, preceded just by Farina. The race takes place in time (three hours); after an hour, Ascari overtakes his teammate too. While the Lombardian racing driver runs the first laps of his formidable chase, there is a continuous alternation of cars and drivers at the lead of the race. 


At the sixth lap, Farina leaves his opponents passing through the boxes with 80 seconds of advantage on Manzon. The Turinese driver also improves the fastest lap. At the fourteenth lap, however, Farina has to stop because of engine issues and Manzon takes the lead with 20 seconds of advantage on Trintignant. In the next lap, the two Gordinis of Manzon and Trintignant are still leading, closely followed by Farina; behind them Ascari advances. Then Manzon stops with problems with the car and Farina takes back the first place; the French driver, not being able to restart, has to retire. At lap 16 Farina tries in vain to counteract Ascari’s pace: it is the most exciting moment of the competition. The two drivers fight for some minutes closely, then the Turinese gives the lead to his teammate, who is proving to be exceptional. At lap 18, Ascari earns 11 seconds of advantage on Farina and 20 seconds on Trintignant: the pace of these three drivers is really good; all the others are lapped. The average speed continues to increase. Giuseppe Farina lowers the lap record while Trintignant, who has stopped at lap 38 to change one of the rear tyres, at the moment of restart is also being lapped by the two Italian aces. In the back, meanwhile, the retirements follow each other in series: in the space of a few minutes the Brazilian Cantoni (in twelfth place and six laps behind the winner), the Argentinian Crespo (tenth and four laps behind) and the British Arohibald give up. Ascari has a minute and 3 seconds of advantage on Farina; then there are Trintignant, Rosier, Bayol and Collins one lap down. More than two hours have passed when from the crowd there is a scream of horror: Rosier, while trying to overtake a competitor, goes off the track sweeping away a group of spectators, and finishes into the grass. The French driver is immediately carried to the hospital, but he doesn’t report any kind of injury, except some excoriations. Shortly after, in fact, he comes back to the edge of the track. Five spectators, including two police officers, are instead seriously injured and one of them dies in the ambulance that carries him to the hospital. He is a young man of 20 years old. With twenty minutes to go, the British Collins retires; shortly after Trintignant gives up too. Ascari and Farina lap for the second time all the competitors. Ascari, which now has a considerable advantage on Farina, flies towards the victory.


In the meantime, the retirements are multiplying. A few laps from the end, there are only seven competitors out of nineteen that started. In the last minutes even Bayol has engine issues, but, having totalised the necessary number of laps, he is classified. When the chequered flag is up, Ascari has raced 416 kilometres in three hours with an average speed of over 138 k/h. Farina, second classified, is behind by over a minute and Behra, who arrived in third, has more than five laps of disadvantage. The competition, which is valid as the seventh race of the French Grand Prix, has been held under a dazzling sun; the public has started to be at the edges of the track since the first hours of the afternoon and it is said that more than 40.000 spectators have attended the race. Just before the start, the Prefect of the Haute Garonne has given to the constructor Amedeo Gordini the cross of Knight of the Legion of Honour that was recently attributed to him. Starting at 10:00 a.m. in the sunlight, on Saturday, August 16, 1952 the drivers of the 12 Hours of Pescara cross the finish line at 10:00 p.m., when the darkness has already dropped a long time ago. The grandstands are illuminated by the spotlights and the cars have covered the last laps projecting in front of their vertiginous race the bright cones of the powerful headlights. This long and tiring competition is won by the favourites Bracco and Paolo Marzotto with an average speed of 128.319 km/h, well above the one realised by the same Bracco in the previous six hours. The two aces of the wheel run 1539 kilometres. These are numbers that prove the ability of the winner and the speed of the car, a Ferrari 3000 reviewed and improved by the Maranello house. Bracco and Paolo Marzotto have to be committed until the end to secure the success because, to counteract their pace, there is a devilish Biondetti in pair with Comaggia. The elderly Tuscanian champion leaps ahead the carousel right after the start, and for five laps keeps firmly the lead, then in front of the boldness of Paolo Marzotto, who sets the fastest lap with an average of 135.836 km/h (time 11'15"1), moving to the second place and staying tenaciously in the slipstream of the stronger rivals. When the honourable Spataro gives the start, in front of the athletes that crowd the stands, the forty-two drivers admitted to the competition lined up on a side of the road run towards the cars allineate on the other side, hurrying to start the engine and conquer the best positions. 


In the rush, the Frenchman Blanc on the Talbot 4500 almost hits the Ferraris of Biondetti-Cornaggia and of Marzotto-Bracco. The ability of the drivers to avoid an accident, while behind them the others competitors less ready or less lucky can’t, instead, prevent some collisions. Some bruised heaters, some crooked fenders and especially lots of emotion. Luckily nothing serious, so the race starts regularly. Blanc stays for little time on the lead, because a mechanic failure forces him to retire. As said, Biondetti takes the lead but is shortly after overtaken by Paolo Marzotto and Bracco, who continuing fastly the practice remain first overall until the finish line. The 1952 Dutch Grand Prix is a Formula 2 race held on August 17, 1952 at the Circuit of Zandvoort. It is the seventh round of the 1952 World Drivers' Championship, which is run according to the Formula 2 rules in 1952 and 1953, rather than the Formula 1 regulations normally used. The 90-lap race is won by Ferrari driver Alberto Ascari after he started from pole position. His teammates Giuseppe Farina and Luigi Villoresi finish in second and third places. After failing to make it to the championship calendar in the previous two years, the Dutch Grand Prix is finally approved to join the championship calendar for 1952. The Circuit of Zandvoort, located only half an hour West of the Dutch capital of Amsterdam, hosts the grand prix. Since 1948, the Circuit of Zandvoort has hosted the Dutch Grand Prix, a minor grand prix event that has yet to make it within the prestigious Grand Epreuves. Zandvoort, a fast-sweeping circuit located in the Dutch sand dunes, was built on the former supply lines of the German military from the Second World War. The Frenchman Louis Rosier has the most success on this circuit, winning the previous two events of the Dutch Grand Prix. However, neither he nor the Dutch Grand Prix's inaugural winner in 1948, Prince Bira of Siam, are in attendance for the grand prix's entrance onto the world championship. The championship is now over, Alberto Ascari's fifth straight win at the Nurburgring helped to secure his first world title in a most dominant style. Despite having won the championship, Ascari is determined to do well in the last two races to secure his gap on his rivals. Alongside the reigning champion, Ascari, and the former champion, Giuseppe Farina, Luigi Villoresi makes his world championship return for Ferrari in 1952. 


A road accident early in the season has prevented his participation and has left him side-lined despite still competing in minor categories. Villoresi, replacing the unavailable Piero Taruffi, is the only man on the grid to have won the Dutch event before, having done so back in 1949. Aside from the three works Ferrari entries, only Charles de Tornaco's yellow Ecurie Francorchamps Ferrari 500 is entered for Ferrari. The three French drivers of Robert Manzon, Maurice Trintignant and Jean Behra are once again in attendance for the Gordini team. Paul Frère, the racing journalist, also enters an older Simca-Gordini model owned by friend and fellow Belgian, Johnny Claes. With Peter Collins unavailable for the Dutch event, Lance Macklin is therefore left in charge as HWM lead driver. Duncan Hamilton is once again brought in as a substitute alongside Dries van der Lof, a successful Dutch industrialist who also competes as an amateur race driver. Van der Lof is provided the opportunity to represent his country at their home event whilst racing for HWM. The works squad has made a brief return in Germany with Felice Bonetto driving their new A6GCM chassis. The team however opts to focus on development work for the new car rather than attend the new grand prix. The team hopes to refine the car for a successful performance at Monza, home of the team's home grand prix. Nonetheless, the minor Escuderia Bandeirantes team has brought along A6GCM cars for its drivers, the Brazilians Chico Landi and Gino Bianco. One extra car is entered for the local talent of Jan Flinterman, who gained funding to join the team with assistance from the race organisers. The ERA G Type has been having an incredibly difficult time in 1952. Stirling Moss has yet to bring the car up to speed or get it to finish a race during the championship season. Nonetheless, the team returns once again in Zandvoort and Moss hopes that the project, unlike the B.R.M. project he is also involved in, does not become a total failure. The Cooper T20s are proving incredibly impressive at times, the constructor's drivers being able to regularly climb to the top of the midfield. The young Mike Hawthorn, entered by a team run through his father, has proven to be one of the best young British hopefuls driving the Coopers. 


Hawthorn is the lone Cooper entry in Zandvoort, however he is hoping that another strong result gains him the attention from the big teams in the grand prix scene. After their impressive debut in Silverstone, the Connaught A car is likewise proving capable of fighting with the top running Formula 2 teams. Ken Downing, who has been having much success in the Connaught in minor events, would once again return to the world championship at Zandvoort. Like the Coopers and Connaughts, Frazer Nash is proving to have the capability of British engineering on the Formula 2 grid. Ken Wharton driving for Scuderia Franera has already scored points and is a regular competitor in 1952. Wharton once again is expected to be one of the midfield stars. As he has done all season, Ascari once again dominates the practice timesheets. A lap time of 1'46"5 secures him pole position, a full two seconds faster than teammate Farina. However, the biggest surprise of practices is when Hawthorn manages to put his Cooper-Bristol third on the grid. Hawthorn is still a full five seconds off the pole time, however he gains the attention of Ferrari when he beats the returning Villoresi in third place. Villoresi in the final works Ferrari is left disappointed upon his grand prix return, Hawthorn beating his time by two tenths. Not even the Gordini cars have an answer for Hawthorn's impressive lap in the Cooper. Trintignant is the fastest of their cars, two seconds slower than Hawthorn. Behra, in the second Gordini, is a second off Trintignant's time whilst Manzon can only manage eighth. He is only two tenths slower than Behra, however it is still enough for the Frazer Nash of Wharton to split the Gordini cars and take seventh. The leading HWMs of Macklin and Hamilton are only ninth and tenth, whilst their local representation of Van der Lof can do no better than fourteenth. Frère in the old Simca-Gordini starts from eleventh ahead of Bianco in the fastest Maserati. Downing's Connaught is settled in a disappointing thirteenth place, ahead of the two Dutchmen Van der Lof and Flinterman. Landi in the final Maserati and De Tornaco's private Ferrari are the slowest drivers during practice. The ERA of Moss once again experiences teething problems. Fatigued after travelling from the Goodwood 9 Hours sportscar race, Moss does not attend practices and starts the race from the back of the grid.


Whilst Ascari has impressed with his usual dominance in practice, the fast times of Hawthorn in the underpowered Cooper has drawn most of the attention heading into the race. Ascari makes his usual strong start from pole position, whilst Hawthorn speeds right past Farina to take second place in the run to the first corner. Hawthorn's Cooper seems even capable of challenging Ascari's Ferrari until the superior might of the 500 chassis allows Ascari to pull away from the Cooper on the second lap. It is immediately evident that the Cooper is no match for the Ferraris, Farina making it back past Hawthorn on the second lap. Hawthorn is able to briefly maintain third to Villoresi's third Ferrari, however eventually the Ferrari superiority wins out and Villoresi takes third to create another 1-2-3 situation for Ferrari. Hawthorn may have lost the podium places to the Ferraris; however, he still maintains a healthy advantage over his nearest challengers in the Gordini cars. Behra has got the best start of the Gordinis, and after seeing the two Maseratis of Bianco and Flinterman retire, Behra pulls out of the race on lap ten with magneto failure. The final two Gordinis of Manzon and Trintignant are left to fight for the final points position. After a bad start, Trintignant is left chasing Manzon, however despite continually hounding his tail, the second Gordini is unable to make it past. The Gordinis squabble has allowed the ERA of Moss who has climbed from the back of the field to close within the Gordinis and have a chance for points. Frère retires with clutch problems on lap fifteen whilst four laps later De Tornaco ends his day with engine troubles. The Connaught car of Downing also goes on to retire after a disappointing race. The locals are seeing little success with their home drivers. Van der Lof is experiencing mechanical troubles leaving him at the back of the grid whilst Flinterman has already retired from the race. The sole surviving Maserati of Landi comes into the pits to allow Flinterman to take over his car and rejoin the race, however the locals have little to cheer as like Van der Lof he is well down at the back of the pack. There is little racing action throughout the day, only the ERA of Moss chasing after the two Gordinis of Manzon and Trintignant providing any real entertainment. On lap 73, ERA's hopes for points are lost when the engine on Moss' car fails. 


Wharton in the Frazer Nash gets seventh place, however three laps later a wheel bearing failure brings an end to his day. The Ferraris dominate once again, Ascari leads the race from start to finish and achieves another Grand Chelem. Forty seconds adrift of Ascari comes the second Ferrari of Farina, whilst Villoresi is undoubtedly hoping for a better return after finishing more than a minute and a half adrift of Farina. The Ferraris once again are unchallenged, Hawthorn in fourth place has been lapped twice by the three Ferraris. However aside from the Ferraris, no car comes close to challenging Hawthorn in his fast Cooper-Bristol. Manzon rounds out the final points place for Gordini, finishing only just ahead of his teammate Trintignant whom he has battled all afternoon. Two laps down on the Gordinis comes Hamilton's HWM to take seventh place, one lap ahead of teammate Macklin. The share car of Landi and Flinterman is in ninth whilst the final car of Van der Lof fails to even be classified. The Dutch Grand Prix has been won, another time, by Alberto Ascari, which constitutes in the  meanwhile an amazing affirmation of the Italian drivers and of the Ferraris that conquer the first three places and have practically lorded through the entire race. From the very beginning Ascari has taken the lead, and his position has never been seriously menaced by other aces who weren’t his Italians teammates. The only thrilling moments of the competition have been the attempts of Ascari to overtake his teammates. Ascari, in fact, has managed to overtake Villoresi on lap 50 and, on lap 84, he has arrived behind Farina with a gap of only five seconds on the entire lap. But, with two laps to go, Ascari had clearly slowed down, respecting the signals given by the technicians of his team, whose ever since he was about to lap Villoresi, advised him to slow down the pace of his race. With this new spectacular quote, Ascari is now almost sure to secure the title of 1952 World Champion. Flowers, hugs, photographs. He appears radiant for the win and great clamours of joy are growing from Ferrari’s box. With the current victory Ascari can be proclaimed World Champion. Three races are left to be held - Monza, Barcelona and Brazil - but Ascari has secured himself the title today, by having won his fifth consecutive Grand Prix (Belgium, France, Great Britain, Germany and Netherlands) with the maximum of points, namely scoring five times nine points. 


Since no other competitor has managed to win two races valid for the World Championship in the current season, the other three aforementioned Grand Prix that have yet to be held will not be able to make Ascari lose the title, even if he does not participate. We remind you that the points for the drivers' world championship are compiled taking into account the best scores achieved in five Grand Prix valid for the World Championship. Alberto Ascari was born in Milan, in Corso Sempione, in 1918. He is the son of the famous motorist champion Antonio, who died in the Montlhéry circuit, when Alberto was just seven years old: at eighteen years old, Ascari escaped from school to come to Milan to race, in the motorbikes and in fact made his debut on Sertum. Two crashes that forced him to retire haven't discouraged him. Ascari then raced for four years on bikes, winning lots of races. In 1938 he was hired by Bianchi to replace Serafini who moved to Gilera. In 1940 he took part in his first car race, the Mille Miglia, in a closed circuit, in a Ferrari 815. He retired due to a broken valve. Ascari resumed running after the war following Villoresi's insistent invitation. His first post-war race was held in March 1947, on the Cairo Circuit, with Cisitalia. He finished second behind Cortese. Then he obtained his first car victory on Sunday, June 27, 1948, in Sanremo. Ascari is married and has two children, a boy and a girl. The nine-year-old boy, Tonino, has already won a car race on electric-powered cars.


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