1955 Monaco Grand Prix
Stirling Moss was leading with 20 laps to go when his Mercedes engine failed. That would have left Alberto Ascari in the lead but he’d accidentally entered the harbourfront chicane a bit too fast. Realising his error, he opted to aim his Lancia into the sea rather than the barriers as the car plunged into the water. Some divers jumped in to go and fetch him but after a few seconds, Ascari popped up to the surface all on his own, and was recovered onto a nearby boat with just a broken nose. It turned out to be the final race for the double world champion – four days later he died in a testing accident at Monza.
The race was won by Maurice Trintignant ahead of Eugenio Castellotti, with Jean Behra and Cesare Perdisa sharing a drive to third place.
1961 Dutch Grand Prix
Wolfgang von Trips became the first German driver to win a GP, holding off Ferrari teammate Phil Hill and the Lotus of Jim Clark. Incredibly, all 15 starters made it to the finish, making it the only grand prix with no retirements until the 2005 Italian GP (well, you could count the six-car 2005 US GP, but that seems a bit like cheating).
1966 Monaco Grand Prix
Jackie Stewart won a race with just four classified finishers – the fewest of any race in F1 history. Lorenzo Bandini finished second, Graham Hill third, and Bob Bondurant fourth. Points for fifth and sixth weren’t awarded as Richie Ginther (the ‘fifth-placed’ driver) didn’t complete enough laps before retiring, and the other two cars running, Guy Ligier and Jo Bonnier, were 25 and 27 laps down respectively.
1977 Monaco Grand Prix
The Wolf of Jody Scheckter grabbed the lead from pole-sitter John Watson at the start and stayed there for the entire distance. Watson ran close behind until his gearbox failed, leaving Niki Lauda as Scheckter’s main challenger. However, he couldn’t find a way past either and had to settle for second with Carlos Reutemann third.
1983 Belgian Grand Prix
The first race at the revised Spa could have been won by Andrea de Cesaris for Alfa Romeo. The Italian became a bit of a Spa specialist during his career and led the first half of the race until a slow pit stop dropped him to sixth. He was making his way back through the field, only to be put out by an engine failure. Alain Prost ended up winning ahead of Patrick Tambay and Eddie Cheever.
2005 Monaco Grand Prix
As Kimi Raikkonen sauntered to a dominant win, both Renault drivers had severe tyre issues which left Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella looking like mobile chicanes. It generated plenty of overtaking (by Monaco standards, anyway!) with the two Williams drivers of Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber being the main beneficiaries, finishing second and third. However, despite it being his first podium, Webber wasn’t happy – he’d been ahead of his teammate, but Williams chose to pit Heidfeld first, giving him clear air while Webber was stuck behind Alonso and allowing him to jump into an eventual second.
Alonso held on to finish fourth with a queue of cars behind him – fourth to eighth place was covered by just two seconds at the finish.
2011 Spanish Grand Prix
Despite making an epic start to go from fourth to first by Turn 1, Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari lacked pace and he slipped to fifth by the end, a lap behind race-winner Sebastian Vettel. Lewis Hamilton finished a close second with Jenson Button third, while pole-sitter Mark Webber finished a distant fourth.
Sergio Mantovani (born 1929) started seven races between 1953 and 1955 (all for Maserati) with a pair of fifth places being his best results. He retired from racing after losing a leg in a crash.
Perhaps the very template of what people may consider a pay driver to be, Pedro Diniz (born 1970) spent six seasons in F1 between 1995 and 2000, racing for Forti, Ligier, Arrows and Sauber. Although he wasn’t especially fast at the start of his career his pace gradually improved – in 1997 there were a few times when he had the measure of teammate Damon Hill, and in 1999 he actually beat Sauber teammate Jean Alesi in the championship.