• German Grand Prix 1952

Ascari cruises to first drivers' title

Martin Williamson August 3, 1952
Alberto Ascari climbs from his Ferrari after wining the German Grand Prix and securing his first world title © Press Association
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The German Grand Prix threw up no surprises as Ferrari utterly dominated the weekend, taking the first four places, while Alberto Ascari secured his fourth successive win and clinched a drivers' championship which had been his in all but name since Silverstone a fortnight earlier.

The only glimmer of hope for a huge crowd that the race would be a spectacle rather than a procession came with the long-awaited appearance of the Maserati factory team, but mechanical problems made their participation peripheral.

At least two Gordinis split up the Ferraris on the four-car front row, but when the race started the Ferraris soon moved clear of the large field, made mainly of private entries. Again Ascari proved his championship pedigree by leading almost every one of the 18 laps of the 14-mile circuit, the only momentary scare coming when he had to pit two laps from the end for oil. The stop cost him 33 seconds and when he re-joined the race he was some ten seconds behind team-mate Nino Farina. But he ate into that gap, and by the finish had not only overtaken Farina but had opened up a 14-second margin.

Again the Swiss privateer Rudi Fischer had a good race finishing third ahead of the factory car of Piero Taruffi which completed the race with a broken suspension. The best non-Ferrari was the Gordini of Jean Behra, with Belgian Roger Laurent scoring his only world championship point in the Ecurie Francorchamps Ferrari.

With his fourth win of the season in his fourth outing, and only the best four scores counting, Ascari had a maximum score with two rounds remaining and so became the third motor racing world champion.

Martin Williamson is managing editor of digital media ESPN EMEA

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Martin Williamson is managing editor of digital media ESPN EMEA Martin Williamson, who grew up in the era of James Hunt, Niki Lauda and sideburns, became managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group in 2007 after spells with Sky Sports, Sportal and Cricinfo