F1: Max Verstappen threatens to punch Esteban after being denied GP win

Updated: Nov 13, 2018, 10:26 IST | AFP

Red Bull's Max Verstappen threatens to beat up Force India's Esteban after collision denies Dutchman the Brazilian GP win

A screen grab of the scuffle between Verstappen (right) and Ocon (second from left)
A screen grab of the scuffle between Verstappen (right) and Ocon (second from left)

Dutch driver Max Verstappen was accused of trying to punch French rival Esteban Ocon after a controversial clash at Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix which was won by five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton. Red Bull star Verstappen was seen on TV pushing Force India's Ocon three times and accused of threatening to hit him, after the pair had collided on track. The collision on lap 44 of the 71-lap race at Interlagos' famed Senna S curves cost Verstappen the race and he had to settle for second place.

'Unprofessional behaviour'
"We were at the scales room," said Ocon. "He wanted to punch me. He pushed me and he was wanting to be violent. It was not professional." "On the first lap, I was faster and, on the second lap, I was a lot faster. The rules say you are allowed to un-lap so that's what I did. I'm used to the fights with Max. He's always been the same. It goes back a few years."

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen

Verstappen swore so much on team radio that his comments bleeped out after he described him as an "idiot". Ocon was given a 10-second stop-go penalty by the race stewards for causing the collision. A video clip of the post-race incident went viral soon but Verstappen said he had no regrets: "He came out of the pit lane and he had the right to overtake, but the level of risk he was taking, it was not right."

"The stewards gave him a penalty. You can say, 'Max, you should have given room', but we were not racing and you don't expect that." Asked about confronting and pushing Ocon, he said: "We are all passionate about the sport, but it would be odd if I shook his hand. I don't care what people say. "I'm a winner. To get taken out by that and to get a stupid response from their side, I was not happy about that."

Red Bull's Max Verstappen (right) and Force India's Esteban Ocon collide during the Brazilian GP on Sunday. Max was in the lead, but finished second after the collision. Pic/Getty Images
Red Bull's Max Verstappen (right) and Force India's Esteban Ocon collide during the Brazilian GP on Sunday. Max was in the lead, but finished second after the collision. Pic/Getty Images

Verstappen punished
Later on Sunday, Verstappen was ordered by the FIA to perform "two days of public service" as punishment for the incident. Verstappen was "extremely upset by the incident on the track" and the stewards said they accepted his explanation that it was not his intention to strike Ocon, but that he was 'triggered' and this caused him to lose his temper", said a statement.

Mercedes clinch title
Meanwhile, Hamilton, 33, took advantage of the collision that cost Verstappen the lead to regain the initiative and then hang on with worn tyres as the Red Bull came home second. His win allowed Mercedes to claim a fifth successive constructors title. Kimi Raikkonen finished third on his 150th start for Ferrari.

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