As is usually the case, any clash on track has multiple opinions on what took place and who was to blame. No surprise then that the clash between lapped Esteban Ocon and race-leading Max Verstappen has garnered a lot of discussion, accusations, conspiracies and more.
Max was frustrated and that manifest itself in some pushing and shoving of Ocon after the race. For Esteban’s part, he felt he was fully justified in trying to un-lap himself and that Max closed the door on him. Regardless, Ocon did receive a 10s stop-and-go penalty for the effort while Max received two days of ‘public service’ for his shoving Ocon.
The FIA felt that Max is, at this professional level, “obligated” to act accordingly and as he is a role model for all junior formula drivers, he failed to do this by shoving Ocon. If this was an egregious, penalty-worthy action then why is F1 tweeting and posting the hell out of the video of the altercation? If this is negative behavior, why is F1 crowing about it on their social media platforms?
In the end, the race stewards deemed Ocon responsible and assessed a 10s penalty but race director Charlie Whiting has now weighed in on his thought:
“It’s happened many times in the past,” said Whiting of whether lapped drivers can pass frontrunners. “But of course you expect it to be done safely.
“More to the point, it should be done cleanly and absolutely without fighting. You shouldn’t be fighting to get past.
“If he’s got the pace then normally one would expect Red Bull to say ‘Ocon has got the pace, let him through’ or that sort of thing.
“But it seemed he just went for it. It was just a bit unfortunate that he decided to fight for it, which was wholly unacceptable.”
The stewards felt Ocon was to blame and so does Charlie Whiting and yet it is Max who, though his own actions, has to commit to two days of public service and this is on top of losing a race. I think Ocon came out ahead. It is also a lesson in channeling that anger and frustration and not letting it dictate your actions. I know, that’s a lot easier said than done in the heat of the moment and I think that’s what Christian Horner was alluding to, Max was irate and Ocon was lucky to not get punched in the face.
Hat Tip: autosport