Max Verstappen engaged in a bit of pushing and shoving after today’s Brazilian Grand Prix in the weigh in room after the race. Having been punted by Force India’s Esteban Ocon as he tried to un-lap himself on fresher tires, Verstappen’s Red Bull spun out of the lead of the race and handed the victory to Lewis Hamilton.
Frustration levels were running very high with Max after working so hard to take the lead from Lewis on lap 40 only to lose it four laps later when Ocon put his nose down the inside of Max’s car at turn 2. The resulting collision resulted in a second place finish for the Dutchman and left Force India defending the right of their driver to try and un-lap himself—which Lewis Hamilton also defended in the cool-down room when chatting with Max.
Hamilton also offered some sage wisdom that he’s learned over the many years and championships his won. Lewis rightfully said that Max had more to lose in the altercation than Esteban who wasn’t even a factor. This implies that Max should have let Ocon go through and saved his lead.
Lewis is right in that sense, Max did have a lot more to lose but there is an element that applies here in that the leader of the race, having the racing line in the corner, may not have even suspected that a lapped car would try to tuck in underneath him.
The shoving match promptly generated a summons to the FIA race stewards in which a penalty was handed down to Max for his physical altercation. Mandatory public service for two days.
“Max Verstappen entered the FIA Weigh Bridge Garage, proceeded directly to Esteban Ocon and following a few words, started an altercation, pushing or hitting Ocon forcefully several times in the chest.
“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.
“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.”
It’s been entertaining to watch the press make a meal out of this story as the season is effectively done and dusted and the fans at home are heaping conspiracy theories on this incident like shovels of coal in the Flying Scotsman steaming up the rhetoric and firing up the fans of Ocon, Verstappen (and nation full of Dutch folks) and both Force India and Red Bull fanatics.
So it’s two days of public service for Max and perhaps, like past offenses with similar punitive actions, it will manifest itself into visits to discuss road safety for FIA sanctioned events. Time will tell.
Personally I loved Hartley’s most New Zealand reaction to a fight ever. I’m really getting sick of this idea going around in the F1 community that some teams and drivers are not allowed to fight against other teams and drivers. Every single bit of hate to Occon has come with a ‘lapped driver’ in it. Well is the ‘lapped driver’ allowed to unlap himself? If yes, the it doesn’t matter if he was a ‘lapped driver’ or not. Everyone keeps complaining that the racing is boring, yet they also freak out if half the grid just doesn’t pull over for… Read more »
He was a lapped driver on fresher tires and therefore he was quick so he is most certainly allowed to un-lap himself. I agree with that for sure. I think, from what I’ve read from folks online, is that they are upset that it impacted a win and the race leader at a place that he shouldn’t have tucked his nose on the inside knowing the impact it may have to the leader. I also agree with Lewis that Max had more to lose and letting him go through may have been a better course of action but then I’ve… Read more »
I’d add at this point that the lap and position counts aren’t relevant to the legality of the move.
Exactly on all counts. Well said.
I also agreed with Lewis about Max too. The funny thing was how the Sky broadcast was pretty much ‘lookout Max is coming and he has nothing to loose, better get out of his way’ at the begging of the race implying Max is gonna shove his nose in and everyone else with something to lose should back off. But once Ocon had nothing to loose and shoved his noose in it was all ‘Max shouldn’t have to care about that!’. Its just a huge double standard people are wiling to give Max. I’m working on a whole post for… Read more »
Max’s punishment will be to make a PSA video for young drivers with a strong message: “Don’t shove your opponent in the media pen where someone will post a video of the altercation to Twitter and upset the FiA.”
You have two days, Max. Start filming.
a bit reminiscent of the Senna v Ervine thing at Suzuka.
Looking at replays Ocon had nowhere to go, but in saying that, Max was leading, so Ocon should have yielded.
Was it Ocons fault? well yes, Was Max at fault? Yeah, he didn’t have to be so aggressive on the backmarker.
its good to see a bit of biff
If we’re going to point fingers at both Verstappen and Ocon on what they should or should not have done, then we probably ought to point a finger at the Red Bull pit wall. They should have been reminding him of the big picture.
Are we really at the point when a bit of boyish shoving and some harsh words are on the same level as a terrorist attack? For Christ sake, this is MEN racing, it’s amazing they don’t get into fisticuffs after every single race!!!
This wasn’t a hate crime, it was a bit of pushing. If that honestly offends you then you need to watch Formula E or Competitive Feminist Literature Reading because this sport isn’t for you.
I’ve been accustomed to men being able to have relatively reasoned discussions about their driving, as had been the case for a relatively long time (the last one this bad I can recall was Jarno Trulli v Adrian Sutil in Brazil 2009, and even that one was more comedy than anger). Resorting to fisticuffs, for almost a decade, has been reserved for silly pre-teens and dodgy F3 drivers.
I think we have different concepts of what “men racing” means.
I’m pretty sure a terrorist attack or a hate crime gets a bit more than community service.
What’s so cool is that F! has posted the video!!
So they are enjoying the whole debacle.
Oh, it was clear to see Ocon was loving the fact he got to pull one over on Verstappen and costing him a race win.
he certainly had a smirk on his face.
So Max gets 2 days community service for pushing Ocon a couple of time, saying he can’t do that. Yet they keep showing Piquet hitting Salazar over 35 year ago like it’s a good thing. Make up your mind FIA