On the 22 May 1955, the Principality of Monaco hosted its second ever Formula 1 Grand Prix, following on from the 1950 event in which Scuderia Ferrari had made its World Championship debut. There was a local driver taking part, Louis Chiron, who was the only Monegasque to have stood on the podium in the premier category of motorsport until Charles Leclerc came on the scene. On that day, Chiron, at the age of 55 years, 9 months and 19 days, became the oldest driver to start a Grand Prix, a record which has yet to be broken.
The Ferraris struggled in qualifying, with pole going to reigning champion Juan Manuel Fangio in a Mercedes. Quickest of the Maranello runners was Frenchman Maurice Trintignant, ninth in the 625. In the other 625, Giuseppe Farina was 14th ahead of Taruffi in the 555. The American Harry Schell started from 18th place.
At the start, Fangio and Mercedes team-mate, the Englishman Stirling Moss took the lead ahead of the Lancias of Alberto Ascari and Eugenio Castelotti. Trintignant got away well and soon passed the Maseratis of the Argentinian Roberto Mieres and Italy’s Luigi Musso, as well as Luigi Villoresi in another Lancia. On lap 40, Fangio and Moss led from France’s Jean Behra in the Maserati, Ascari and Trintignant, who was running at a consistent pace while trying not to overstress his car.
Just before half distance, Behra had to pit to fix an oil connection and lost a lap and shortly after, race leader Fangio had to throw in the towel and retire when the axle broke on his Mercedes. Moss now led from Ascari and Trintignant.
The Englishman was pushing like mad, trying to also lap Ascari, the only driver still on the same lap as the leader, but with 20 laps to go, the engine on his Mercedes expired and he had to stop. Ascari was set to take the lead but, maybe because of a brake problem as well as oil dropped by Moss, the Italian lost control of his Lancia and dived into the harbour. Later he would say he did it deliberately, reckoning it was less risky than ending up in the wall or smashing into a small grandstand. It was the right choice given that, spectacular though the incident was, Ascari escaped with just a broken nose and a few bruises.
The steady Trintignant now found himself in the lead and had to fend off the advances of Castellotti in the second Lancia. The Italian closed the gap, but could not get past the Ferrari that Trintignant had managed throughout the race, allowing him to now run at a more respectable pace. Castellotti got to within 10 seconds of the leader but could do no more. Maurice, a winemaker in Nimes and uncle to the famous actor Jean-Louis, took his first Formula 1 win and the Scuderia secured its first of nine in the streets of the Principality. Some might argue that Trintignant benefited from the mechanical misfortune of others, but after all, Enzo Ferrari himself would often say, “the perfect race car is one that breaks as it crosses the finish line” and the 625 was the best car past the chequered flag that day in Monte Carlo.