The 21-year-old was punished for seeking out the Frenchman and pushing him several times after the Brazilian Grand Prix Max Verstappen has been sentenced to two days of community service by Formula 1‘s governing body after he sensationally shoved Esteban Oconfollowing Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix. Verstappen, furious with Ocon after their collision denied the Red Bull driver a fine win at Interlagos, squared up to the Frenchman as he was about to be weighed, before pushing him three times.
FIA officials had to jump in and restrain Ocon from retaliating. The dramatic incident was caught on camera, and both Verstappen, 21, and Ocon, one year the Dutchman’s senior, were hauled in front of the stewards.Verstappen, who finished second to Lewis Hamilton, was found guilty of “starting an altercation, pushing or hitting Ocon forcefully several times in the chest”, and failing to “act as a role model to drivers of all levels”.
As such, the Dutchman must now serve two days of public service at the FIA’s request within the next six months.
Ocon, one lap down on the Dutchman and in 16th place, went wheel-to-wheel with the race leader at 220mph, before he banged into the right-rear of Verstappen’s car through the Senna Esses, sending him into a race-losing spin.
“What a f****** idiot,” Verstappen fumed over the radio before he recovered to finish less than two seconds behind Hamilton.
“I don’t know what to say,” Verstappen’s race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase replied.
“I know what to say,” Verstappen replied. “I hope I don’t find him in the paddock.” The rest of his message contained a series of bleeped-out expletives.
Verstappen’s crash allowed Hamilton to re-take the lead (Getty)
Following their explosive altercation, Ocon, who was hit with a 10-second stop-and-go penalty during the race – the most severe punishment available to the stewards – called Verstappen a “lunatic” on French TV and stood by his move.
“With Max it did not work out,” he said. “That’s one thing. But what is worse is Max’s behaviour afterwards – being violent, pushing me, wanting to punch me. The FIA had to stop him.
“That is not a professional way of handling things. I would do the same again.”
Verstappen, his face still red with anger in the post-race press conference, said: “He [Ocon] has always been an idiot. I was trying to do my job, and then suddenly a backmarker is racing you and taking stupid risks.”
Verstappen’s Red Bull team principal Christian Horner added: “Max has been pretty restrained to be honest with you. It cost him a grand prix victory.
“Esteban was lucky to get away with just a push.”
Verstappen’s coming together with Ocon cleared the way for Hamilton to secure his 10th win of the year, and his Mercedes team, their fifth consecutive constructors’ championship, with one round of the season to come in Abu Dhabi a week on Sunday.
Source: The Independent