• Dutch Grand Prix 1953

Ascari pilots slick-handling Ferrari to Zandvoort win

Martin Williamson June 7, 1953
Alberto Ascari on his way to winning the 1953 Dutch Grand Prix © Getty Images

The European season kicked off with the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort and Alberto Ascari secured his eighth successive win for Ferrari (discounting the distraction of the Indianapolis 500). While Juan Manuel Fangio was at least back in the fray to add some competition, his Maserati was still not a match for the defending champion.

Ascari was again on pole position with Fangio alongside him as sand and grit blown from the dunes played havoc with all the cars' handling. The early stages proved to be a tough battle, with Stirling Moss in a Connaught mixing it with the Italian marques, but it soon boiled down to a fight between the Ferraris and the Maseratis. The presence of the golden-haired Mike Hawthorn, signed by Ferrari for the season, attracted considerable media attention.

It was generally considered that the Ferrari handled batter but that the Maserati had more power. But with Zandvoort more of a handling circuit, Ascari dominated the race, leading from start to finish. Team-mate Nino Farina made it another Ferrari one-two.

Hawthorn almost made the podium after racing against the Maserati of Jose Froilan Gonzales, which had been started by Felice Bonetto. Gonzales switched cars after his back axle broke and a similar fate eliminated Fangio.