When it comes to TV build-up ahead of a Formula 1 grand prix, the Martin Brundle grid walk has become must-see viewing.
The best way to describe this much-loved segment would be unscripted hilarious chaos, with the former F1 driver turned pundit given around 15 minutes to wander about the grid, armed with a microphone and cameraman as he hunts for interviewees ahead of the big race.
Brundle has actually revealed that he hates doing these grid walks, but fortunately, his suffering is not in vain as over the years they have created many hilarious moments, with a host of classic encounters firmly imprinted in the minds of Formula 1 fans.
It is far from easy then to narrow them all down into a collection of the absolute Martin Brundle grid walk gold, but we think we have managed it!
So, without further ado, let us relieve the classics gifted to us by the iconic Martin Brundle grid walk…
Ozzy Osbourne happened
Spotting The Prince of Darkness Ozzy Osbourne on the Formula 1 grid is a rather exciting moment indeed, so when Martin went to have a chat with the “complete and utter fruitcake” ahead of the 2003 Canadian Grand Prix, we had an idea that something interesting was about to happen, but this exceeded expectations.
As Ozzy mumbled his way through explaining, or so he thought, a musical he was writing, a clearly stumped Martin Brundle would reply “I’ll try to think of a question for that answer.”
Following that up by asking if he brought the dogs with him to the race, “no they’re all at home sh*tting,” was the reply from Ozzy. And with that, it was time for Martin to hastily exit stage right, no benefit of a bleep machine with live TV folks! This will forever remain one of the greatest Martin Brundle grid walk moments ever.
Megan Thee Stallion
At least Ozzy gave Martin the time for that moment to happen, even if he probably had no clue what was going on. But alas, over the years Martin has found out that not all celebrities will afford that courtesy.
American rapper Megan Thee Stallion for example had no interest in chatting to Martin ahead of the 2021 United States GP as his grid walk made its return, or at least her bodyguards were not about to let that happen. He did at least ask if she had an F1-themed rap to unveil to the world? She did not.
The true gem of this encounter though was when one of the guards told Martin that he can’t do this. “I can do that because I did,” was the hilarious comeback, with that particular guard becoming a meme sensation as part of the fallout. We think it is safe to say the victory went to Martin on this one!
A no from the Williams sisters
That US GP grid walk really was a rough ride for Martin, as he also was unable to get a chat out of tennis legend Serena Williams despite multiple attempts.
He did at least manage to get a couple of albeit awkward words out of her sister Venus ahead of the inaugural Miami GP in 2022, even if she did forget the question!
Brad Pitt tries to escape
Sticking with the United States GP, one year later movie star Brad Pitt was in no mood to chat to Martin about the F1-related film which he is said to be working on alongside seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton.
As Pitt tried to swerve Martin’s path, the fleet-footed reporter making sure that did not happen, Pitt would take a brisk walk towards the front of the grid with his bodyguards at work, Brundle managing to get no more than a few words.
In fairness though to Pitt, he would later send Martin a note explaining his actions, which Martin welcomed, even if it was not something that he felt was owed to him. A happy ending of sorts then.
Brad Pitt making a movie about F1 but not knowing who the voice of the sport Martin Brundle is pic.twitter.com/Xh3E28xTa8
— Omid Scobie (@scobie) October 23, 2022
Pep Guardiola does not want to talk football
Martin attempted to talk football with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola ahead of the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, spotting the Spaniard in the corner of the grid among a sea of bodies.
Telling Martin that “we’re not talking about football today”, security managed to bundle Guardiola away to safety. “It’s alright, I’ve been thrown out of better places than this,” was the amazing assessment from Martin.
So that’s where Kimi went
As icons Michael Schumacher and the late great Pele met ahead of the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix, Pele presenting Schumacher with a lifetime achievement award ahead of what was set to be his last race, Kimi Raikkonen was nowhere to be seen.
By the time that Martin was doing his grid walk, Kimi was back on the scene, the Finn telling Martin that he had missed the presentation because he was “having a sh*t”. Classic Kimi!
Roberto Carlos no English
Ahead of the 2003 Spanish Grand Prix, Martin could not resist the chance to put one of football’s biggest rumours at that time to Real Madrid star Roberto Carlos. Would David Beckham soon become his team-mate?
Well, Carlos claimed he could not speak any English before Martin even reached this subject, yet he said that pretty well in English. Still having very little luck in convincing Carlos to whip the English phrase book out as he brought up the Beckham rumours, that was pretty much that for one of his most bizarre interviews yet during the grid walk.
And yes, Beckham did join Real Madrid that summer.
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The social media sensation
A recently added segment to the grid walk, so far yielding little success, sees Martin interview an unfamiliar face on the grid to get to know them a little better.
Ahead of the first Miami GP in 2022, it was in fact social media influencer Gianluca Vacchi who Martin was chatting to.
Completely unaware of this, Vacchi would describe himself to Martin as a “social media sensation”. “Modest too,” came the hilarious reply from Martin. Awkward, very awkward, yet brilliant.
Rejected by Owen Wilson
Back to the folks who do not want to talk to Martin, and you can classify actor Owen Wilson under that file, as he was a man of very few words on the grid ahead of the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix.
When trying to pretend that Martin was not even there didn’t work, we did at least learn that this was not Wilson’s first grand prix, as he told us “this is my second, I went to one in Spain.”
“Okay good, well that’s always interesting to know isn’t it,” Brundle quipped as he then swiftly moved on with the grid walk.
Meeting Mariah Carey for the first time
Another race, another rejection for Martin as he was met with a serenade of noes from music star Mariah Carey when he tried to grab a word with her ahead of the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
“Oh well, that’s not going to spoil my life and I don’t suppose it will spoil your life,” was Martin’s summary. Amen to that.
We did feel rather gutted for Martin though, who said after the snub that he is a fan of her music and would have liked a chat having met her at last. Never meet your heroes is the phrase which comes to mind there.
That is Paolo Banchero, not Patrick Mahomes
All the stars were out on the grid ahead of the first Miami GP, so Martin could be forgiven for getting his wires crossed a little when it came to Paolo Banchero.
Now, as the number one pick at the 2022 NBA draft, Banchero is a bona fide star in his own right, the only problem was, Martin mistook him for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Informed mid-interview that this was not Mahomes, Martin therefore putting two and two together on why he had initially been ignored, this nonetheless was a classic, light-hearted grid walk blooper, with Banchero more than accommodating to Martin throughout despite the mix-up.
— Jaja (@JajaBreed) May 8, 2022
At least Stormzy likes him
And just like Banchero, Stormzy has also proven during his appearances on Martin’s grid walk that celebrities can be nice to him!
Martin has said before that he believes it is important that the celebrities show respect to F1 personalities when they are welcomed in, and despite the awkward interactions over the years, it must be said that the majority of Martin’s unexpecting guests earn the metaphorical handshake of respect.