1953 British Grand Prix
The 1953 British Grand Prix was the fifth race of the 1953 Formula One World Championship and was held in Silverstone on July 12th 1953. While Consalvo Sanesi won pole, his Gordini failed, allowing Juan Manuel Fangio to take his second and final Grand Prix victory. Alberto Ascari and Reg Parnell completed the podium, allowing the latter to truly launch his title bid.
Coming to JAMR's home race, they were truly at the very top of Formula One racing. Bettenhausen and Trintignant were leading the points standings, Bira had been consistently quick, and even González had finally decided to pull his head out of his arse and actually finish races. Semi-home team Alexander Racing Team were also in a good position, with Sanesi taking an emotional maiden win in Reims. But five races still remained, and anything could still happen. 43 drivers gathered at Silverstone for the 1953 British Grand Prix.
This week, the second Mercedes had been handed to experienced sports car driver Tommy Wisdom, who would hope to do better than Lucien Vincent at Reims.
Lance Macklin took over the Reatherson that weekend, while Joe Kelly took a race off.
Following Dorino Serafini's accident last week, he missed the British Grand Prix. He was replaced by Australian Jack Brabham, who had been attending the Silverstone weekend as a mechanic for hire and suggested himself as replacement. He therefore made his European début following his appearance at his home Grand Prix the previous year.
With Macklin returning to Reatherson for his home race, Lex Davison was lured away from the hopeless EMW to the Balkan Eagle once more, where he now stood a chance of qualifying.
Despite André Simon being better in the Maserati than all the previous drivers, the management still insisted on giving Onofre Marimon a chance. The Argentine stepped back in the Maserati for Silverstone.
Group Ultimate had elected not to send the Ferraris to Britain, and they hadn't been entered in any other races that season thus far. Edgar Barth was still there in the Ultimate, but the East German/American squad might not be there on the grid the following season. Would political reasons be behind this?
Bentley were back for their home race, with the three Speed 3 chassis for Brauchitsch, Hawthorn and Richardson. They would each be hoping to make the grid.
Ecurie Nationale Belge had reverted to two cars for the British Grand Prix, with the logical line-up of André Pilette and Jacques Swaters.
Following John Fitch's hefty crash at Reims, O.S.C.A. had pulled the second car from the rest of the season, leaving Fitch to drive for the new Assasti Millanti team.
With Lex Davison gladly returning to Balkan Eagle, it was Günther Bechem who stepped back into the sluggish EMW.
With Dries van der Lof gaining valuable prize money for Asso di Fiori, Luigi Villoresi stepped back into the Aston-Jag, hopefully to emulate the Dutchman's success.
The underfunded and controversial Assasti Millanti outfit made their début at Silverstone in a Leader-Jaguar with O.S.C.A. refugee John Fitch.
Every Bentley car made it apart from two of the works cars, ironically the ones that were driven by the Brits. Brabham and Villoresi made pre-qualifying a formality, while Lance Macklin was the pleasant surprise by getting the Reatherson up to third place. Balkan Eagle were unlucky to end up in such a competitive battle for the final pre-qualifying spots, while Mercedes disappointed by failing to get even Eric Brandon into main qualifying.
Sanesi took his second consecutive pole in a Gordini 1-2. Great performances were to be had from Giovanni Bracco, David Hampshire and Jacques Swaters, but a disappointing showing from André Pilette and Peter Collins.
Aldo Gordini took the best start and had the early lead, while Trintignant's clutch broke on the grid. By lap 4, Sanesi and Bira had caught and passed him, and Aldo only lost pace from then. While Sanesi and Bira were duelling, were fighting intensely, Robert Manzon broke out of the pack, passed his teammate Gordini and by lap 16, he was right on the tail of the leaders, followed distantly by Reg Parnell and Alberto Ascari. In the meantime, the only interesting event was Giovanni Bracco continuing his bad habit of throwing cars off the road, although this time a puncture was to blame.
On lap 21, Manzon passed Bira for second place, making for a Gordini 1-2, while Piero Taruffi's suspension failed out of 21st position. On the following lap, Bira passed Manzon again to retake second position, before taking the lead on lap 23. On the very following lap, Reg Parnell caught up to Manzon and Sanesi (Bira had created a gap ahead). In the meantime, Fangio and Barth had caught up to Ascari for fifth place. By lap 28, Sanesi and Bira were a fair way ahead of Manzon and Parnell.
On lap 30, Nello Pagani's gearbox failed out of 17th position. At the same time, Sanesi left the track and rejoined in third place just behind Reg Parnell. Manzon, meanwhile, was getting caught by Fangio and Ascari. By lap 34, both had passed him, and Edgar Barth was right behind him. On the following lap, he was ahead. On lap 36, Sanesi passed Parnell for second again, just in time as both were getting caught by Ascari, Fangio, Manzon and Barth. On the following lap, all of them had gained a place as Bira's transmission decided to explode.
On lap 37, Sanesi was leading from Ascari, Parnell, Manzon, Fangio, Barth, Gordini, Gonzalez, Hampshire, Whitehead, Bettenhausen, Rubirosa, Moss, Chiron, Swaters, Jones, Brabham, Villoresi and de Filippis. But those first few positions were constantly changing behind Sanesi, and even he wasn't safe: on lap 41, Ascari briefly took the lead, only to lose it on the following lap. Edgar Barth's steering then chose to fail, ending a great race from sixth position. At this point, Fangio, who had started 13th, was a magnificent third! On lap 47, Stan Jones retired due to an oil leak out of 15th position. This left 17 cars in the race.
The situation remained stable for a few laps, with Sanesi out in front and Fangio, Parnell and Ascari fighting for second (with Manzon a distant fifth). By lap 51, Fangio and Parnell had caught Sanesi and were looking for a way through. On the following lap, Fangio was in the lead, and Parnell was through on lap 53. On the following lap, Sanesi was ahead of both again...only for his suspension to collapse, ending his race. This left Reg Parnell in the lead ahead of Fangio, Ascari, Gonzalez and Manzon. Ascari and Gonzalez were fighting hard for third, while Manzon was having to defend from Gordini, Whitehead, Bettenhausen, Hampshire and Rubirosa in a momumental scrap for the final points position. In fact, Gonzalez quickly dropped behind Ascari and was engulfed in the battle, while Ascari caught the two leaders. On lap 56, Fangio took the lead from Parnell.
The battles raged but didn't really change. On lap 64, de Filippis lost control at Copse and span into the straw bales. Race over. At the very front, Fangio was still in the lead and pulling away, already smelling the long-awaited victory. With five laps remaining, his lead was uncatchable bar any mechanical failure, while Parnell just had the edge over Ascari. With three laps remaining, Luigi Villoresi suffered an oil leak and Stirling Moss span on the oil, crashing into the barriers.
None of this stopped Juan Manuel Fangio from taking his second Formula One victory and his first in three whole years, since the 1950 Swiss Grand Prix. He lapped the entire field, while Alberto Ascari managed to beat Reg Parnell to Phoenix' first podium of the season. Parnell would also walk away with the fastest lap. The fight behind them was eventually won by Robert Manzon, ahead of Peter Whitehead, who took the final points position.
|2||42||Luigi Villoresi||Aston Martin-Jaguar||1:46.04||+ 0.30|
|3||5||Lance Macklin||Bentley-Jaguar||1:47.89||+ 2.15|
|4||27||André Pilette||Bentley-Jaguar||1:48.12||+ 2.38|
|5||23||Manfred von Brauchitsch||Bentley||1:48.68||+ 2.94|
|6||21||Ken Wharton||Bentley-Jaguar||1:48.74||+ 3.00|
|7||3||Johnny Claes||Leader-Mercedes||1:48.77||+ 3.03|
|8||35||Maria Teresa de Filippis||Bentley-O.S.C.A.||1:49.02||+ 3.28|
|9||40||Günther Bechem||EMW-Mercedes||1:49.39||+ 3.65|
|10||12||Lex Davison||Alfa Romeo-Maserati||1:49.45||+ 3.71|
|11||1||Eric Brandon||Mercedes||1:49.54||+ 3.80|
|12||15||Umberto Maglioli||Alfa Romeo-Maserati||1:49.56||+ 3.82|
|13||26||Duncan Hamilton||Maserati||1:49.84||+ 4.10|
|14||44||John Fitch||Leader-Jaguar||1:49.96||+ 4.22|
|15||19||Paul Frère||Maserati||1:50.03||+ 4.29|
|16||2||Tommy Wisdom||Mercedes||1:50.13||+ 4.39|
|17||24||Mike Hawthorn||Bentley||1:50.36||+ 4.62|
|18||25||Geoff Richardson||Bentley||1:50.98||+ 5.24|
|19||20||Onofre Marimón||Maserati||1:51.32||+ 5.58|
- Final race victory for Juan Manuel Fangio.
- Final fastest lap for Reg Parnell.
- First start for Jack Brabham.
- First and only entry for Tommy Wisdom.
- First podium for the Mercedes engine.
- Aldo Gordini: 3 laps (1-3)
- Consalvo Sanesi: 25 laps (4-5, 7, 11-12, 17-18, 20-22, 37-40, 42-51, 54)
- B. Bira: 23 laps (6, 8-10, 13-16, 19, 23-36)
- Alberto Ascari: 1 lap (41)
- Juan Manuel Fangio: 22 laps (52-53, 56-75)
- Reg Parnell: 1 lap (55)
- Most total career entries: Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio and Piero Taruffi (29)
|1||Jaguar - Aston Martin Racing||28|
|3||Alexander Racing Team-Gordini||17|
|4||Alfa Romeo SpA||12|
|5||Phoenix Racing Organisation||10|
- Only the top five positions are listed.
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1953 French Grand Prix
| Alternate Formula 1 World Championship
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1953 German Grand Prix
| Previous race:
1952 British Grand Prix
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1954 British Grand Prix