Competition, while often seen as beneficial, can escalate into destructive conflict. This occurs, for instance, when athletes sabotage each other or when rival executives get caught up in a career-derailing fight. These escalations into conflict are especially likely among status-similar competitors, who are fraught with discordant understandings of who is superior to whom. We examine the link between status similarity and conflict as well as the conditions under which this link holds. We find that status-similar Formula One drivers are more prone to collide, especially when they are age-similar, perform well, are embedded in a stable role structure, and feel safe. Our inquiry deepens our understanding of when violent conflict emerges and can guide conflict prevention efforts.