5. Jean Behra
Behra drove for a whole host of F1 teams in his career, which spanned 9 seasons between 1951 and 1959. He drove for several esteemed companies such as Gordini (part of Renault), Ferrari and Maserati among others.
He was well-known among his peers for being extremely fast and skilful behind the wheel, but was also notorious for his hot temperament and lack of will at certain race events. For example, he was fired by Ferrari part of the way through the 1959 campaign when he got into a fight at a restaurant with the team’s board of directors and punched one of the team members’ in the face.
The feisty Frenchman achieved 9 podiums in Formula 1, with 2 of those being just one position away from the top step. Probably his best chance at victory was at the 1957 Grand Prix of Argentina, where Behra held the lead for the first 2 laps and again between laps 9 and 12, but ultimately lost out to fellow Maserati driver Juan Manuel Fangio in a race which was dominated by the Italian marque.
In 1959, Jean made his own team together with Porsche and named it Behra-Porsche. Whilst competing for them in a sports car race which preceded the German Grand Prix at AVUS, he lost control in the wet conditions at the tricky banked corner section and was thrown from this Porsche RSK, fatally wounding himself after hitting a flagpole which lined the outer edge of the track. Thus, Jean Behra was never able to manage a race win thereafter.
4. Tom Pryce
Despite managing fewer podiums than most of the drivers on this list, many regard Pryce as one of the most naturally talented drivers of his generation. Being one of the first Welshmen to compete in the sport, Tom had a lot of expectation from his home country weighing down on his shoulders, but carried said weight with pride which showed clearly in his ability on the racetrack.
After a brief spell with the Token racing team, he signed for Shadow. He immediately impressed by qualifying on the second row of the grid in only his second start for the outfit. He actually did win a race in a Formula 1 car, but it was a non-championship race in 1975 at Brands Hatch for the Race of Champions.
Pryce may have been able to get a few victories in F1 were it not for a calamitous accident which killed him along with a marshal at the 1977 South African Grand Prix. On lap 22 of the event, Pryce went over a crest at the main straight, unsighted from the point of view of 19-year old marshal Frederick Jansen van Vuuren. The local boy was looking to cross to the other side of the track to assist the other Shadow driver Renzo Zorzi, who had pulled out of the race on the side of the road and was partially engulfed in invisible methanol flames which had to be put out as soon as possible. As he ran across the track, Pryce’s Shadow hit the marshal at 170 miles per hour, and the 18-kilogram fire extinguisher that Frederick was carrying hit Pryce in the head which instantly took his life.
3. Stefan Johansson
Johansson has the second-most podiums in F1 without a win, standing at 12. The Swedish racing driver drove for several slower teams throughout his long career, including the likes of Onyx, Toleman and AGS in his portfolio to name a few.
However, early on in his time at F1 he showed enough individual speed to be signed by Ferrari for the 1985 season. He was for a fleeting moment in the lead of the San Marino Grand Prix that year, but unfortunately ran out of fuel soon after inheriting 1st place from Ayrton Senna who had conked out in similar fashion.
Although he attained 6 podiums in 2 years at the Italian team, he was forced to play second fiddle to teammate Michele Alboreto in terms of strategy, in spite of being the markedly faster driver in 1986.
He was yet again the second driver upon his move to McLaren in ’87, yielding to defending World Champion Alain Prost whenever he had to during the races. A sure testament to his prowess, Johansson managed 30 points compared to Prost’s 46, which is not bad compared to arguably one of the best F1 drivers to ever walk this earth.
He fluttered between uncompetitive teams from 1988 until his retirement from the sport in 1991, but somehow managed 3rd place at the 1989 Portuguese Grand Prix in an out-of-place Onyx.
2. Chris Amon
Fellow F1 driver Marion Andretti once said of Chris Amon, “if he became an undertaker, people would stop dying”. This was because the New Zealander’s career in Formula 1 was pock-marked by moments of sheer bad luck, usually when he was leading a race.
As was the case for most teams in the 50s, 60s and 70s, reliability was a huge problem which ended the races of many drivers prematurely. Amon retired in 44 of his 96 race starts, some of which were likely to be victories.
In 1968 in particular he had some horrifically bad luck with Ferrari. He qualified on pole position at 3 of the first 5 races of the season, but only mustered a single point in total due to various mechanical issues either resulting in retirement or extra pitstops having to be made. He led 72 laps of the Canadian Grand Prix until his transmission failed, handing the race win to Denny Hulme’s McLaren.
Ferrari in the late 60s was plagued with problems with their V12 engine, so Chris left the team at the end of the 1969 campaign to race for a few different newer and less experienced teams. His best season actually came in 1970 for the debutant March Engineering squad, scoring 23 points for 8th in the standings. He even started a few races for his own team in 1974, but after that didn’t go well he retired from F1 at the conclusion of the 1976 season.
1. Nick Heidfeld
The German driver has finally gotten 1st place, albeit on this list rather than on track! With 13 podiums he holds the unenviable record of most F1 podiums without a single victory. Which is a real shame as on his day he was one of the fastest drivers in the paddock. He scored points in all of his 12 seasons in the discipline, including in 2004 for the ailing Jordan outfit.
At the 2005 European Grand Prix whilst driving for Williams, Heidfeld qualified on pole for the first time but was unable to convert this result into a race win, finishing 17 seconds behind race winner Alonso while he himself was in 2nd position.
He enjoyed 5 successful seasons with BMW-Sauber from 2006 to 2009, his best chance at victory coming at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix where he footed a one-two finish for the team with Robert Kubica in the other car. He managed an impressive 4 2nd places in 2008 to get 6th place in the Drivers’ Standings.
Nick achieved a further 2 podiums in 3 more years for BMW-Sauber and Renault before retiring mid-way through the 2011 campaign after being controversially replaced by Bruno Senna from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards.
Heidfeld’s bad luck continued even after leaving F1. He joined the new sport of Formula E in 2014 and spent 5 years in the series. He once again failed to earn himself a win despite managing 8 podiums. He came close at the very first race in Beijing but was purposefully crashed into by Nicolas Prost after Heidfeld tried to overtake him on the inside. Such is life…
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