Max Verstappen ordered to do ‘public service’ after clash with Esteban Ocon

CNN  — 

Following his furious physical altercation with Esteban Ocon in the aftermath of Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen has been ordered to complete two days of “public service.”

The Red Bull driver was incensed after a clash with Ocon, who was attempting to unlap himself, on lap 44 caused Verstappen to spin out and gifted the race lead back to Lewis Hamilton, who went on to win at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo.

“What a f*****g idiot”, Verstappen fumed over the team radio, before labeling Ocon an “idiot” again in his post-race interview.

The Dutchman confronted the Force India driver as they waited to be weighed, reportedly forcibly shoving him in the chest several times.

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“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 statement, detailing the F1 stewards’ official 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.”

The 21-year-old will have to complete the two days of public service within the next six months at the direction of the FIA, motorsport’s governing body.

Ocon was given a 10-second penalty for the incident, one of the harshest punishments available, eventually finishing in 14th place.

The Frenchman, for his part, was adamant he had done nothing wrong and insisted Verstappen should have left him space on the inside.

“I came out of the box, the first lap I stayed behind, the second lap the team said you can unlap yourself if you want,” Ocon said.

“I was side by side and I couldn’t disappear and then I saw he turned and we collided but what I am really surprised about is his behaviour after the race.

“We went on the scales he started to push me and wanted to punch me and stuff and this is not proper.”

Bitter rivals

The pair’s rivalry stretches all the way back to 2010 when they competed in karting and continued through to 2014 when Ocon won the European Formula 3 Championship.

“It goes back as long as 2010, 2011,” Ocon told Autosport in March ahead of the 2018 season. “[We were] not friends at all. It was a very intense fight. It came out a bit too much at some point.

“Now we have no problem at all, we speak well together and he is a cool guy. Back in the day it was very intense.”

Verstappen admitted that they “didn’t have that many positive moments with each other.”

“At the time we didn’t really like each other,” he said. “But that’s part of the game. It’s normal. I had the same thing with Charles Leclerc.”

Hamilton’s victory ensured that Mercedes won the constructors’-drivers’ championship double for the fifth year in a row.