Motor racing: the gentleman's pursuit. The sport where how you win is just as important as winning itself. A world built on concepts like honour, sportsmanship and respect for your rivals.

Well, perhaps once. Perhaps when it was a sport entirely populated by rich aristocrats just out for an enjoyable Sunday afternoon's drive, rather than a ruthless battle for top spot.

The sport may not be quite as civilised as it once was, but it is still very rare to see drivers actually throwing punches at each other.

This little incident between Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton from the 2011 Singapore Grand Prix is about as close as you get these days:

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But that wasn't always the case. Here are seven times F1 drivers saw the red mist descend...

7. Hunt vs marshal (part 1)

Motorsport marshals know they have a dangerous job when they sign up for it. With Formula 1 cars flaying past them at 200 miles per hour anything can happen. But the one thing they probably don't expect is to be on the receiving end of a right hook from one of the drivers.

But that's what happened to Ernie Strong at Mosport in 1977 when James Hunt crashed after colliding with McLaren team-mate Jochen Mass. Hunt is helped out of the car looking somewhat dazed and confused before he turns and punches poor old Ernie, who is knocked off his feet by the impact.

"How did I feel?" Ernie said later. "Wronged, blindsided—did that really happen?" He added: "If I said anything to him, I can't remember. Hunt gave me a, 'Sorry, old man,' and headed back to the pits..."

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6. Irvine vs Senna

Everyone knows this story now. Cocky young upstart Eddie Irvine – in his first ever Grand Prix, mind you – unlapped himself against the great Ayrton Senna in the Japanese GP in 1993, on his way to a point for sixth place in the Jordan.

After the race a furious Senna, egged on by his old pal Gerhard Berger, tracked Irvine down in the Jordan hospitality cabin to give the Ulsterman a piece of his mind. “You're driving like a ****ing idiot! You're not a racing driver, you're a ****ing idiot!” he told Irv the Swerve, before taking a swing at him. Eddie went tumbling off a table and a paddock legend was born.

Here's Irv's take on it:

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5. Schumacher vs Coulthard

These two never actually came to blows in this incident at Spa in 1998 - but only because there was a sea of McLaren and Ferrari personnel standing between them.

Schumacher had been leading comfortably in the pouring rain in Belgium when he crashed into the back of DC while trying to lap him.

The German was so furious he drove all the way back to the pits with only three wheels on his car, then hopped out and stormed down to the McLaren garage to confront Coulthard, shrugging off one member of the Ferrari crew who tried to stop him. He accused of Coulthard – who wisely kept his helmet on the whole time – of "trying to ****ing kill me" before he was dragged away by Jean Todt.

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4. Mansell vs Senna

"When a man holds you round the throat, I do not think that he has come to apologise."

Ayrton Senna was right – Nigel Mansell was furious after the pair crashed at Spa in 1987.

"I went over to him, grabbed him by the overalls and pushed him up against the wall," Mansell said later. "He wore loose overalls in those days and I pulled the zip up beyond his chin to just below his nose. 'Next time you do that,' I said, 'You’re going to have to do a much better job.'"

He later added that Senna punched him "quite a few times" in retaliation, but claims he "didn't feel a thing". This was the crash that had Mansell so incensed:

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3. Hunt vs marshals (part 2) and Depailler

Usually the one doing the shunting, James Hunt was furious when Patrick Depailler shoved him into the armco at Monaco in 1975.

He hopped out of his Hesketh and the marshals tried to get him off the track and out of harm's way. But determined to make his point to Depailler he spun round and flailed an arm at one of the marshals, then, when Depailler's Tyrrell reappeared, he waved his fist at him like an angry schoolmaster who has caught some boys spraying rude graffiti on the side of the gymnasium. Point made.

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2. Serra vs Boesel

Not two of the most famous F1 drivers in history, but these two Brazilians had arguably the punchiest of F1 punch-ups at the Canadian Grand Prix in 1982.

Chico Serra thought Raul Boesel had blocked him in qualifying, and went to confront him after the session. He starts off with some world class finger waggling, before it descends into what fight experts would call a 'ruckus'. Notice too, how Boesel uses the classic Coulthard method of keeping his helmet on.

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1. Piquet vs Salazar

It had to be number one.

F1's most famous fist fight happened after leader Nelson Piquet was coming up to lap Eliseo Salazar in the 1982 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim and the pair collided, putting them both out.

An apoplectic Piquet leapt out and began throwing fists, legs, and whatever else he could find at the hapless Chilean, who clearly knew he had screwed up and didn't even attempt to fight back.

This one also takes top spot thanks to a superb – and extremely rare – bit of Murray Walker boxing commentary: ''And take that! Oh my goodness!"

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