• Dutch Grand Prix 1952

New venue ... but Ascari remains unbeatable

Martin Williamson August 17, 1952

A new race and a new venue was the setting for the penultimate round of the season, with the inaugural Dutch Grand Prix at the relatively new track at Zandvoort, which was close to the North Sea. The drivers were enthusiastic about the John Hugenholtz designed custom built circuit, even if was occasionally coated by a veneer of sand.

Unfortunately, the championship was done and dusted, with Alberto Ascari securing the crown with his fourth win in as many starts a fortnight earlier at the Nurburgring. With Ferrari's only potential rivals, Maserati, struggling with mechanical issues on its new car, a large crowd had little to expect other than a weekend of Ferrari dominance.

Up-and-coming playboy Mike Hawthorn ruffled a Ferrari feather or two when he put his Cooper Bristol on the front row alongside Ascari and Nino Farina, and for a short time he gave as good as he got as he showed he could mix it with the more powerful Ferraris. Eventually and inevitably he was overtaken and from then on the three Ferraris raced away, Ascari yet again underlining his dominance by opening up a 40-second lead from Farina, while Gigi Villoresi came home third.

Hawthorn finished fourth ahead of the two factory Gordinis of Robert Manzon and Maurice Trintignant. Stirling Moss, who won the warm-up 500cc race, got his pre-war ERA as high as seventh before he retired.

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