- Tempers were lost at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday as Red Bull driver Max Verstappen collided with Force India’s Esteban Ocon.
- Verstappen was leading the pack at the time and seemed to have the race sewn up when he ran into 14th-place Ocon, who he had just lapped.
- Ocon was attempting to unlap himself at the time – a move which is rarely attempted against the race leader.
- Ocon was handed a 10-second stop/start penalty for causing the collision.
- The crash cost Verstappen the race as it allowed Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton to cruise to victory, and he was understandably furious.
- The Red Bull driver confronted Ocon at the post-race drivers’ weigh-in and started shoving him.
- Verstappen later branded Ocon a “p—-.”
- Stewards handed the driver two days public service for the altercation.
With his world championship already in the bag, Britain’s Lewis Hamilton won the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday – but it could have been a different story.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen had driven sublimely, starting in fifth and climbing four places in 16 laps to overtake Räikkönen, Vettel, Bottas and finally Hamilton to lead the race.
The Dutch 21-year-old managed his tires well, meaning he could make a pit stop much later than second-place Hamilton and switch to much faster, soft tires.
By lap 44 Verstappen had a vice-like grip on the race and looked to be cruising to victory – until he lapped 14th-place Force India driver Esteban Ocon.
Attempting to unlap himself, Ocon held his line through the second corner and collided with Verstappen sending them both into a tailspin.
“What a f—— idiot. What a f—— idiot,” Verstappen could be heard shouting on his team radio.
In Formula One, it is customary not to interfere with the race leader if you’re being lapped. However, you are allowed to unlap yourself.
Unlapping is extremely rare against the race leader, though, and Verstappen was clearly not expecting to find Ocon between his car and the apex when the two collided.
Ocon was handed a 10-second stop/start penalty for causing the collision, but the damage incurred on Verstappen’s Red Bull meant he was unable to catch up with Hamilton’s Mercedes, which cruised to victory.
The drama didn’t stop there, though. At the post-race weigh-in, an incensed Verstappen confronted Ocon and started pushing him.
You can watch the crash and following altercation below.
Commenting on the fracas, Verstappen said: “We are passionate about the sport, it would be odd if I shook his hand,” adding: “I don’t really have a lot to comment on that, except that he was being a p—-.”
The two drivers were later summoned to the stewards’ office and the Dutchman was handed two days public service at the direction of the FIA.
“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 lose his temper,” read the official stewards verdict.
“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.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner backed his driver, though: “As a lapped car you should not interfere with the leader,” he said. “What was Ocon thinking of there? It beggars belief. It makes no sense at all.”
Horner even backed Verstappen’s post-race actions and said Ocon got off lightly: “Esteban was lucky to get away with a push, to be honest. Max has lost a victory through no fault of his own. It is hugely frustrating to lose a victory through a back marker.”