• French Grand Prix 1952

Ascari and Ferrari dominate throughout

Martin Williamson July 6, 1952

The French Grand Prix switched from Reims to a dangerous and daunting circuit at Essarts just outside Rouen. A large crowd turned up, fuelled with hopes of a local win as the previous weekend Jean Behra had managed to beat the Ferraris in the non-championship Reims Grand Prix.

Ferrari had finished working on engine modifications and fielded three cars, including joint drivers' championship leaders Piero Taruffi and Alberto Ascari, and while the new Maseratis were still not officially available, Philippe Etancelin was allowed to one run in an unofficial capacity.

Ascari dominated practice sessions, just ahead of his two team-mates, and that continued in the race itself, Ascari leading from the off to record his second win in as many appearances that season. The Ferraris of Nino Farina and Taruffi were second and third, but local interest ended when Behra spun and damaged his steering and had to endure a lengthy pit-stop, eventually finishing seven laps down.

Peter Collins came home in sixth to score his first championship point but some five laps behind the winner.

Despite the changes made by the FIA to try to encourage more competition, it was becoming increasingly apparent that in the absence of Alfa Romeo, Ferrari was a country mile ahead of the others.

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