Max Verstappen will be required to take part in two days of ‘public service’ at the direction of the FIA following his angry post-race confrontation with Force India’s Esteban Ocon in Brazil.
The incident, which saw the Red Bull driver push Ocon during a tense exchange in the FIA garage, followed a clash between the two men on Lap 44 of the race, during which backmarker Ocon tagged race leader Verstappen into a costly spin that ultimately lost the Dutchman the race.
Following a similarly tense war of words in television interviews, both Ocon, who finished 15th after serving a stop-go penalty, and Verstappen, who finished second behind Lewis Hamilton, were called before the stewards to explain their ‘physical contact’, with the stewards also reviewing CCTV footage from within the garage.
Ultimately it was decided that Verstappen had “started an altercation” before “pushing or hitting Ocon forcefully several times in the chest” – actions that were deemed inappropriate for a sportsman and role model of the Dutchman’s stature.
“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 official stewards 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.”
Verstappen is required to perform the days of public service within the next six months.