• May 20 down the years

When a marshal left Mansell 'shaken rigid'

Niki Lauda on his way to victory in France © Sutton Images

Niki Lauda won the 79-lap French Grand Prix even though home favourite Patrick Tambay had led for more than half the distance. Nigel Mansell, whose mother had died of cancer three days earlier, finished third - he had a lucky escape when he came over the brow of the hill to find a marshal running across the track. "You could say I was unimpressed," Mansell said. "In fact, it shook me rigid."

Jackie Stewart's 24th win at the Belgian Grand Prix came in a chaotic race where the track disintegrated throughout and no fewer than eight cars slid into crash barriers, fortunately none with any serious consequences. Chris Amon, who finished sixth in a Tecno, had to be lifted from the cockpit afterwards as his car's cockpit had overheated considerably - and hour after the finish he was still lying in the paddock in a state of dehydration.

Graham Hill won the European Grand Prix at Zandvoort in a BRM, leading for 69 of the 80 laps, the first of four wins on his way to the drivers' title. The Lotus of Trevor Taylor was second, a remarkable achievement given he only had limited oil pressure throughout, with Phil Hill's Ferrari in third.

Ralph Firman was born and raised in England but raced under Irish citizenship (his mother had an Irish passport). He went straight into racing from school and in 1996, his second year, won the British Formula Three Championship. In 2003 he secured an F1 drive with Jordan alongside Giancarlo Fisichella but it was not a successful season, with his only top-ten finish coming in Spain when he was eighth. He also crashed practising for the Hungarian Grand Prix which caused him to miss two races. It was to be his only year in F1.

Bob Sweikert, born on this day in Los Angeles, won the 1955Indianapolis 500 and the 1955 National Championship, as well as the 1955 Midwest Sprint car championship - the only driver in history to sweep all three in a single season. A year later he finished sixth at the Indy 500 but a few weeks later was killed in a crash at a sprint event at Salem Speedway.