• Belgian Grand Prix 1953

Ascari capitalises on Maserati's failings

Martin Williamson June 21, 1953
Maserati team-mates Jose Froilan Gonzalez and Juan Manuel Fangio both suffered engine failure when leading © Unknown

While Zandvoort had suited Ferrari, it looked a very different story at Spa, where the long straights would play to the strengths of the powerful Maserati.

In practice, Fangio stunned everyone with a lap of 117.3 mph to take pole with Ascari second and Gonzales third in the second Maserati. But in the event, Ascari completed his ninth win out of ten starts and again the season was fast turning into a coronation more than a competition.

In front of a crowd estimated at over 100,000, the two Maseratis streaked into an immediate lead, leaving Ascari and the rest in their wake. Fangio was conserving his car and waved Gonzales ahead, and he increased the lead to a minute before his engine spluttered to a halt.

Fangio's hopes of a first win since 1951 lasted two laps before he too was forced out with engine problems, and that left the field clear for the Ferraris. Ascari cruised home with team-mate Villoresi in second place. Onofre Marimon took third in his only his second grand prix, but it was to be his only podium; 13 months later he was killed practising for the German Grand Prix.

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