The 1953 British Grand Prix

The VI RAC British Grand Prix took place on an overcast and rainy July 18, 1953.  But, the day could not have been too rainy; the fastest race lap was only six-seconds off last years sunny day. Even accounting for engine and power improvements, it would be unusual to see lap times that close to a dry lap–especially in these days.  In fact, upon further checking, I am going to dispute how much, if any, rain occurred over the course of the race.  The race, allegedly raining, resulted in an overall higher average pace (92.9 miles per hour over last year’s 89.8 mph).  So, I’m guessing it was more overcast than rainy for the race.  In any event, Scuderia Ferrari was, again, on pole courtesy of a fantastic lap from the ever-confident Alberto Ascari.

Now, keep in mind, the race is only two weeks after what was billed as, “the race of the century.”  The crowd would have been aware of the David and Goliath [Maserati and Ferrari] battle that had–a here’s where the analogy crashes and burns–resulted in Goliath’s triumph.  Okay, so, upon further review, the analogy doesn’t fit at all.  No matter, we’ll just move forward.  The point is, the fans would have been amped up for a good show.  That’s all I was trying to say.

So, based on the information I have gathered, the race went something as follows:

Fangio, for Maserati, nailed the hole-shot, but overcooked the first corner.  A fortnight ago, he came up short against Ferrari.  And yet, the rumor has been that the Maserati is the faster car.  And this week, Fangio lost the lead–immediately.  Ascari in his roaring red Ferrari saw the opening, went for it and overtook Fangio.  Ascari was able to maintain the lead until the end.  But, there seems to have been some action for second place.  González (remember, Maserati’s #2; but also, the driver that brought Scuderia Ferrari their first victory in the 1951) rose to second but was black-flagged for oil on the track.  He pitted, but apparently, lost positions to only Fangio, Villoresi, and Farina.  Villoresi did not complete the race and Guiseppe Emilio “Nino” Farina.  Thus, Ascari won; Fangio scored a much needed second-place; and ol’ reckless Farina squeezed himself into a decent third-place.

So, here is where we are at in the championship:

Ascari leads with 33.5 points and Hawthorn follows with 16 points.  A note on Mike Hawthorn and his brand new ride with the Scuderia boys, I have it on good authority that, last season, unbeknownst to Ferrari, his prior ride was fueled with nitromethane.  In plain english, he looked like a better driver than he really was.  But, rumor aside, he was sitting pretty in second place in the championship.  José Froilán Gonzálaz held 13.5 points in spite of his difficulties at Silverstone this year.