Brazilian GP: Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon clash on and off track
Verstappen must serve two days of public service after 'pushing or hitting Ocon forcibly several times in the chest'
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 16/11/18 2:01pm
Max Verstappen has been punished for shoving Esteban Ocon in a heated aftermath to the Brazilian GP.
Verstappen has been ordered to serve two days of public service after race stewards ruled he 'started an altercation' with the Force India driver before 'pushing or hitting Ocon forcibly several times in the chest'.
The altercation came after Verstappen tangled with Ocon on track in an incident which cost the Red Bull driver a likely race victory. He instead finished second behind world champion Lewis Hamilton.
The two drivers spun after making contact as the Force India driver attempted to unlap himself. Stewards found Ocon at fault and handed the Frenchman a 10-second stop and go penalty.
But Verstappen was incensed by the incident and after the race he confronted Ocon at the weighbridge before FIA officials intervened.
Both drivers were summoned to see the stewards, with Verstappen adjudged to have 'made deliberate physical contact' with his fellow driver.
What did the stewards say?
Interlagos stewards said that while they sympathised with 'Verstappen's passion' over the costly on-track incident, they could not condone his behaviour as his actions did not set the correct example as a sportsman.
'The stewards understood from Max Verstappen that he was extremely upset by the incident on track during the race and accepted his explanation that it was not his original intent to strike Ocon, but that he was "triggered" and caused him to loose his temper,' read a statement.
'While sympathetic to Verstappen's passion, the Stewards determined that it is the obligation of sportsmen at this level to act appropriately and as role models to other drivers at all levels and found that Verstappen failed in this respect.'
Verstappen will now have to carry out two days of public service at the FIA's behest within the next six months.
What did Verstappen and Ocon say?
With what would have been a stunning race win from fifth on the grid going begging, Verstappen was furious with Ocon and said over the radio on his cool-down lap: "I hope I can't find him now in the paddock because that guy has a f****** problem."
He also branded the Frenchman an "idiot" and said Ocon had taken "a stupid risk" in trying to unlap himself.
Force India defended their driver, while Ocon criticised Verstappen for the Dutchman's post-race conduct.
"What I'm really surprised of is the behaviour of Max, the FIA having to stop him from being violent, pushing me and wanting to punch me," Ocon told Sky F1. "That is not professional."
But Red Bull boss Christian Horner said he could understand his driver's frustration.
"I think has been pretty restrained, to be honest with you, it's cost him a grand prix victory," Horner told Sky F1. "He's driven his heart out with a damaged car. Esteban was lucky to get away with a push.
"Emotions are running high. I told him 'just get yourself under control on the cool-down lap', because he's lost a victory through no fault of his own today."
Verstappen added: "What can I do about it? I lost a victory but hopefully in 15 years time, we can laugh about it."
Indeed there appeared to be a reconciliation later that evening after meeting the stewards, with the pair seen shaking hands in the paddock.
Ocon, meanwhile, tweeted on Sunday night that he still felt Verstappen had not given him sufficient room in the on-track clash that triggered the post-race scuffle.
The full stewards' verdict on Verstappen
'The Stewards reviewed video evidence from the FIA's CCTV Cameras and heard from the driver of car 33 (Max Verstappen), the driver of car 31 (Esteban Ocon) and the team representatives. The driver, Max Verstappen entered the FIA Weigh Bridge Garage, proceded directly to Driver Esteban Ocon and following a few words, started an altercation, pushing or hitting Ocon forcefully several times in the chest.
The Stewards held a hearing, in which both drivers acted appropriately and cooperated with the Stewards. The Stewards understood from Max Verstappen that he was extremely upset by the incident on track during the race and accepted his explanation that it was not his origional intent to strike Ocon, but that he was "triggered" and caused him to loose his temper.
'While sympathetic to Verstappen's passion, the Stewards determined that it is the oligation of sportsmen at this level to act appropriately and as role models to other drivers at all levels and found that Verstappen failed in this respect. The Stewards therefore ordered that Max Verstappen is required to perform two (2) days of public service at the direction of the FIA within six months of the incident. (Penalty under Art. 12.3.1.c of the FIA International Sporting Code.)'
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