Brundle says his career has been marked by “crazy moments,” like Sunday’s when he attempted to interview an NBA prospect he believed to be NFL quarterback Patrick Mahomes
Ahead of the opening race at the Miami International Autodrome, won by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, Brundle did his usual walk along the grid to capture interviews with famous participants.
Sky Sports Formula 1 presenter Martin Brundle said there was “a reason I’ve never looked back at an F1 grid walk” as his bizarre celebrity encounters created as much conversation as racing at the Grand Miami Prix.
However, the 62-year-old accidentally mistook Paolo Banchero, a confused 19-year-old basketball player, for NFL quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Brundle thought he was speaking to the Kansas City Chiefs superstar before being told his mistake in his earpiece. “That’s not Patrick, so he ignored me at first,” he said.
“What is your name, sir?” he then asked. “Well, I thought I was talking to someone else, I’m sorry.”
Thankfully, Banchero saw the funny side as Brundle turned to the Sky Sports camera and shrugged: “Whatever!”
Mahomes later responded on Twitter.
“You have no idea how much I dislike making them [grid walks] but somehow those crazy moments shaped my professional career,” Brundle wrote.
There was another awkward encounter with David Beckham where the commentator pushed his way through a crowd to speak to the ex-footballer who then completely ignored him.
“David, Martin Brundle [from] Heaven,” he said. “David, do you have a minute for us? This is the second time he’s blanked me out.”
Italian billionaire Gianluca Vacchi was also approached by Brundle, although once again he had no idea who he was. “Sir, I don’t know who you are, but I would like to know who you are,” he told him. “You look very interesting.”
When Vacchi described himself as “a social media sensation,” Brundle replied, “And humble too.”
By Kevin Garside Iis chief sports correspondent
Brundle is second to none as a racing expert and his astute observations always add to the sum of our understanding. His lattice walk is more than parody, however.
Brundle’s unfamiliarity with athletes outside of the F1 bubble, not uncharacteristic of the sport, was painfully exposed on a celebrity-packed Miami grid. Even those he knew, like David Beckham and Venus Williams, were embarrassingly reluctant to get involved. And the ones he didn’t produce were horrific TV shows.
Brundle thought he’d exchanged a word with Super Bowl-winning quarterback Patrick Mahomes when he actually reached out to budding basketball star Paulo Banchero, who’s 19 and has yet to bow in the professional game.
Comedian Paul Kaye made the celebrity interviewer laugh in the role of Dennis Pennis, parodying the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis at the Cannes Film Festival.
Brundle’s cock-ups are honestly done and as such all the more crass. It’s either that, or the great man must be put out of his misery and ours.
Read Kevin Garside’s full analysis of the Miami Grand Prix here