Neymar during the Formula 1 AWS Gran Premio de Espana 2023, 7th round of the 2023 Formula One World Championship from June 2 to 4, 2023 on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, in Montmelo, Spain

The best of football’s awkward F1 grid encounters with Martin Brundle

Formula 1 fans know all too well about Martin Brundle’s iconic pre-Grand Prix grid walk, with the segment often creating a strange link between motorsport and football.

The former driver turned Sky Sports broadcaster Brundle will charge around a grid packed full of ultra-famous celebrities and sports stars before a race begins and attempt to grab a quick interview with them.

You won’t be surprised to hear it’s almost always as painfully awkward yet equally hilarious as it sounds.

The glitz and glamour of F1 mean the biggest names on the planet find themselves at the races, even if they don’t like the sport or are new to it. You’ll get world-famous actors one moment, Eurovision winners the next, followed by a footballer on their summer holiday.

Brundle’s job of bridging the gap with all of those different characters in the 30 seconds or so he gets with them is immensely difficult. It’s even more difficult for him as someone who isn’t really a football fan.

That becomes painfully obvious at times, giving us some rather cringe-worthy yet equally hilarious bits of media to look back on.

In honour of the man who is an icon to F1 fans for his work, we’re recalling the best (or worst) of his run-ins with our beautiful game.

Photobombing Neymar

Having already shown his face at the previous race week in Monaco, Brundle was able to this time sneak in a quick interview with none other than Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.

The Brazilian, who surprisingly gave him a brief interview and spoke in English, was taking a picture before going on air with Brundle. Impatient and keen for an interview, our beloved Martin snuck into the back of the photo, microphone in hand, ready to pounce after photobombing.

Ultimate opportunist.

Upsetting Pep in Abu Dhabi

Brundle managed to briefly catch up with Guardiola at Silverstone in 2023, but wasn’t so lucky at the 2022 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Introducing himself as Martin Brundle for Sky Sports F1, Guardiola declined the interview, claiming he’d already spoken to Sky Sports twice.

Ever the optimist, Brundle joked: “Okay, well three times lucky then,” to which Pep – in the most sarcastic, Pep way possible – replied: “Yeah, good, I’m lucky.”

He then tried to ask a question about the football, to which Guardiola shut down, and by the time he could fire back about F1, the Manchester City boss had walked away.

Rude, Pep. Very rude.

Facts fail with Courtois

Brundle caught up with the towering presence that is Thibaut Courtois ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, and asked the goalkeeper about Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz, ‘as a Spaniard’.

Except he obviously isn’t a Spaniard. He’s a Belgian, who happens to play in Spain.

Courtois looked a tad miffed, but brushed past the error and offered his thoughts on the pair. Brundle realised his error soon after the interview. Oops.

Blanked by Becks (sort of)

We appreciate that David Beckham is a busy man. He’s probably an exceptionally busy man when attending the Grand Prix where his MLS franchise is based.

But trying to run away from Martin Brundle on an F1 grid? We all saw it, Becks. Shame on you. This was after he’d blanked him twice before.

Brundle got two questions in and did get a half-decent answer to his first one after catching Beckham as he sheepishly tried to run off, but was greeted with a very boring ‘we’ll see’ when asked for thoughts on who would win the race.

He then ran off again. Very poor showing.

Liverpool ITK

Catching up with Trent Alexander-Arnold at the 2022 British GP, Brundle went straight for the burning question and quizzed the Liverpool defender on his teammate Mohamed Salah’s new contract.

Alexander-Arnold, to be fair to him, cut a wide smile and gave his thoughts on the deal, only after Brundle had admitted that the intel had come through his ear and he was told to ask because he had no idea about football or Salah.

To be fair to Trent, he gave a very nice interview after that, portraying his growing love for the sport. Be more like Trent, celebrities.

Angering Marco Materazzi

Let’s just be thankful it wasn’t Zinedine Zidane who Brundle was accidentally winding up, otherwise things could’ve got pretty messy live on air at the 2022 Australian GP.

Finding Italian World Cup winner hanging out with Ferrari – of course – Brundle asked if the tall, brunette fella was ‘Mariachi’ before correcting himself – to ‘Matazzi’.

An already awkward exchange then gets worse, as he then brings up Italy not being at the 2022 World Cup. Materazzi immediately drops his head back, is clearly somewhat bothered and then insists the pair speak about F1 instead.

Transfer ITK

Having rubbed shoulders with Neymar, Brundle was in full football flow and turned into the reincarnation of Fabrizio Romano at the 2023 Spanish GP.

Catching up with Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell, the latter first spoke to Brundle before pointing him towards the former. Mount asks what Chilwell was saying, which we’re sure he regretted pretty soon after.

Brundle replied: “He says you’re going to Manchester United,” To which Mount can only sheepishly laugh at. He’s since completed that move, which explains why he struggled to shut down the continually snowballing rumour.

“I’m here to just enjoy this race today.” Yeah, sure you are, Mason. Manchester United’s new number seven, Mason. We saw right through it. Brundle had you sussed out.

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