Video captured by a French TV broadcaster shows Max Verstappen repeatedly pushing Esteban Ocon in the aftermath of the Brazilian Grand Prix, where the pair had a controversial coming together that allowed Lewis Hamilton to retake the race lead.
On lap 43, Verstappen tried to lap the Force India. Ocon was a lap down and outside the top ten at the time, but the pair collided going through turn 2, sending them both into spins and allowing Lewis Hamilton back into the lead.
As both drivers entered the FIA garage post-race, footage captured by Canal+ Sport, a French broadcaster, shows Verstappen pushing Esteban Ocon three times before storming out. Ocon does not push back, but does put his hand forward in protest as the pair exchange words that were not captured my microphones.
The incident was immediately mentioned by prominent broadcasters, including Sky Sports F1, and Verstappen and Ocon have both since been summoned to the stewards to explain the confrontation.
Earlier, as the race was still unfolding, the stewards handed Ocon a ten-second stop/go penalty, which is the harshest of the four on-track penalties that could have been given.
Force India Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer said he completely disagreed with the penalty when talking to Sky Sports F1 during the race. He explained that Ocon had asked the team if he was allowed to unlap himself from Verstappen, and the team responded affirmatively.
Max Verstappen was leading at the time on the collision, but was unable to repass Lewis Hamilton in the following laps and finished second, 1.5 seconds adrift of the Mercedes. The Red Bull had clear visual damage to the right-hand side of the floor, where Ocon’s front-left tyre impacted.
Immediately after the incident, Verstappen described Ocon as a “f**king idiot” for his involvement in the clash. Verstappen’s race engineer,
Gianpiero Lambiase, said “I don’t know what to say” as the Red Bull eventually finish the race in P2.
“I hope I can’t find him in the paddock,” Verstappen said, suggesting he was already considering confronting Ocon. “We should’ve won today,” he commented.
“Why on earth is he racing the leader?” Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner asked when interviewed by Sky Sports F1 in the immediate aftermath of the race. “You shouldn’t interfere with the leader,” he said.
When questioned about the physical contact between the drivers, Horner said Ocon was “lucky” to receive just a push, as the contact cost Verstappen a race victory. “Max has been pretty restrained,” he added.
Talking in the post-race press conference, Verstappen agreed that being “taken out” had stopped him from winning the race. He described Ocon’s move as a “stupid risk.”
The incident prevented Verstappen from securing his second consecutive race win, after he took top honours at last fortnight’s Mexican Grand Prix. The Dutchman has never won back-to-back Grands Prix.
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