40 Years Ago James Hunt Punched A Marshal
One year after his dramatic championship, Hunt's emotions in 1977 were slightly different, leading to one of the more infamous moments in F1 history
James Hunt was Formula 1's glorious eccentric during the 70's. He was known for walking around barefoot, loving the ladies, enjoying a good adult beverage and saying/doing whatever he pleased whenever he pleased. What he is most famous for is his epic duel with Niki Lauda for the 1976 Formula 1 World Championship. One year after his greatest motorsport achievement things didn't go according to plan. Lauda had run away with the championship and going into the second to last race of the 1977 season without much to race for.
Hunt and Mario Andretti were the class of the Canadian Grand Prix. The two drivers managed to lap the entire field with the exception of Hunt's teammate Jochen Mass. Hunt used the slower car to make his move and pass Andretti for first. Unfortunately he was still behind Mass who was making this difficult on his teammate. This eventually led to the two colliding, ending Hunt's race.
We would all be a little ticked off if our teammate had just led to an accident that took us out of contention to the win. Especially if that teammate wasn't fighting for position. We would say some choice words, maybe a swear or twenty and go on about our day. This wasn't us remember, this was James Hunt and he reacts to things differently than the rest of us. We may take that situation and think, "God, I want to punch something right now." but then we reconsider and nobody gets punched. in this case a corner marshal who was only trying to do his job and get Hunt off the track got one right upside the jaw for his trouble. It is one of Hunt's more infamous moments, one of those moments that makes him uniquely James Hunt.