Felipe Massa’s team-mate was thrown out of a Brazilian karting race for repeatedly punching and attempting to strangle a rival after they crashed out of the 500 Milhas de Kart race.

In a bizarre event, Rodrigo Dantas, driving the second kart for Massa’s team, was defending from Tuka Rocha in the #003 Sambaiba Centrebus kart who was in second place attempting to reel in the ex-Formula 1 driver who had been leading the race.

After a number of on-track incidents Rocha drove into Dantas to send both karts into a tyre barrier before the pair took their anger out on each other out of the karts in a fist fight. Dantas pinned Rocha to the ground and after punching his helmet appeared to attempt to strangle his rival as the race went on around him.

The pair were pulled apart by race marshals and security with all karts from both teams MDG Matrix and Sambaiba Centrebus disqualified from the event. As a result, fellow former F1 star Rubens Barrichello’s Hero #71 squad were effectively awarded victory despite being two laps off the leaders in the closing stages of the 12-hour race.

The incident, which reportedly left Massa shocked and saddened, comes just a week after the Brazilian driver was appointed President of the FIA Karting Commission during the final World Motor Sport Council meeting of the year in Paris. It has been confirmed Massa was unaware of the incident until his team was disqualified and had no role in the incident.

Massa will return to racing action early next year in a one-off Brazilian Stock Car race, while the ex-Williams driver has also voiced an interest in joining the FIA Formula E championship ahead of the 2018-19 world championship.