More often than not, emotions run high in a sport and there are often moments of red mist. That is the feeling when all logic is promptly and thoroughly ignored. Fights can occur anywhere, and when it does, things can turn ugly. F1 is no different either and tempers have flared numerous times.
Most of the time, the frustration is limited to irate rants on the radio with occasional foul language. However, there have been a few times when the middle finger was whipped out. But there have been a few extreme case of fisticuffs being pulled out. The most recent instance was during the 2018 Brazilian GP between Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon. But there are a lot more entries to this list.
Piquet vs Salazar
Kicking things off (or rather, punching things off) was an ugly brawl between Nelson Piquet and Eliseo Salazar. During the 1982 German Grand Prix, Piquet was trying to lap Salazar when the two collided. The Brazilian let his emotions get the better of him and proceeded to kick and punch the Chilean driver.
Hamilton vs Massa
This incident took place during the 2011 Singapore Grand Prix. Emotions were already running high that weekend between the two drivers. Hamilton stirred the pot when he attempted to dive down the inside of Massa during qualifying. Massa went up to Hamilton in the post-race TV interview area as he was about to start an interview with RTL Television, patted his shoulder, and sarcastically said: “Good job, bro.” While this wasn’t as dramatic as the previous entry, the venom in Massa’s words was clear.
Ayrton Senna vs Eddie Irvine
Even an F1 driver of Ayrton Senna’s calibre is not immune to the power of the dark side. The incident occurred during the 1993 Japanese Grand Prix. Although Senna triumphed, he was very unhappy with the conduct of the backmarkers. One driver who peeved him off the most was rookie driver Eddie Irvine. The Jordan driver unlapped himself twice and interfered with Senna’s race.
Their argument got quite heated and Senna lashed out, promptly earning himself a two-race ban.
Schumacher vs Coulthard
This incident was also quite infamous in its own way. The 1998 Belgian Grand Prix already cemented itself as the most chaotic race with the multi-car pile-up. The accident was instigated by McLaren’s David Coulthard.
The Scot got himself into further trouble when Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari was trying to lap him on a soggy track. The unsighted Schumacher collided with Coulthard who moved off the racing line, only to find Michael there already. The Ferrari’s wheel was amputated and the McLaren ended up without a rear wing.
The incensed Schumacher trundled back to the pits before storming to the McLaren garage. they proceeded to brawl until their respective mechanics managed to pry them apart.
This incident took place during the 2009 Brazilian GP when Jarno Trulli and Adrian Sutil tangled in the opening laps. Renault driver Fernando Alonso was also an innocent victim of the collision. As it turned out, Sutil had forced Trulli onto the grass and the Toyota driver lost control. The Italian then spun into Sutil and the German was sent on a wild ride, ultimately collecting an unsuspecting Alonso.
The two earlier F1 drivers got out of their stricken cars and faced off against each other. The feud continued into Abu Dhabi with the two arguing as to who caused the accident. Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso, who were present in the press conference struggled to keep a straight face. Alonso in particular was trying hard not to laugh.
Finally, there is the incident between Esteban Ocon and Max Verstappen. Race leader Verstappen was in the process of lapping Ocon when the Frenchman tried to unlap himself. The result was the two drivers colliding and spinning off, handing a grateful Hamilton the lead and win.
Later, Ocon was handed a 10-second stop-go penalty but Verstappen decided to inflict some vigilante justice. While the drivers were being weighed, Ocon was suddenly shoved by a furious Verstappen, repeatedly.