Three-Time F1 World Champion Goes Medieval On Track Rival

Sissies in bright overalls driving around in circles, that's Formula One, right? Not when it comes to Brazilian world champion Nelson Piquet, whose 1982 kung fu moves are presented here on video.

The scene is the German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring in the utterly chaotic 1982 season and defending champion Nelson Piquet is leading the race in his Brabham BT50. He comes up to lap the ATS of Eliseo Salazar in the Ostkurve chicane, and Salazar performs the bright move of punting into Piquet’s car after letting him pass, taking both of them out of the race.

These things happen. Normal people would at this point resign themselves to the twists and turns of motor racing. Not Piquet. He shoots out of his stricken Brabham, marches up to Salazar, and does a very nicely executed shove-punch-punch-kick routine on the Chilean, who doesn’t really fight back. Why so docile? Salazar was Piquet’s protégé in F1.

Piquet’s frustration is easy to understand in retrospect: the abysmal reliability of his Brabham allowed him to finish only 4 of the season’s 16 Grands Prix—and those podium finishes included a win and a second place.