A war of words has broken out between Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon following their extraordinary coming together on lap 44 of the Brazilian Grand Prix while race-leader Verstappen was battling with the lapped Force India driver. And it’s a war that’s set to rumble on, too, following an angry physical confrontation between the two drivers after the race...
Verstappen had dispatched Lewis Hamilton for the race lead on lap 40, and was looking well placed to take his second victory in as many races when Ocon attempted to unlap himself going into Turn 1 at Interlagos.
With neither driver relinquishing in the battle, Ocon held his line around the outside of the corner, meaning that when Verstappen made to sweep past him into Turn 2, the pair collided, sending both drivers spinning into the run-off area and allowing Hamilton back past – a move which led to the five-time champion securing his 10th win of the season.
Ocon was duly handed a 10-second stop-go penalty – one of the harshest punishments the stewards can dish out to a driver without disqualifying them – while Verstappen was forced to settle for second, his Red Bull's floor looking distinctly worse for wear.
The action didn’t end after the chequered flag had flown, however, with footage emerging after the race showing an incensed Verstappen confronting Ocon in the drivers’ weighing area, the old European Formula 3 rivals exchanging pushes before going their seperate ways.
Verstappen hadn’t calmed down much when he faced the media later on, either…
“To get taken out like that, and to get a stupid response from his side as well, I was not happy about that,” said Verstappen. “I’m just trying to do my race and suddenly a backmarker is… just taking a stupid risk, to dive in on the inside. What can I do about it? The penalty for me today is that I lost the victory. Hopefully in 15 years we can laugh about it.”
Asked about the off-track altercation between the two, Verstappen defended his actions, saying: “We are all passionate about the sport. I mean, it would be odd if I had shaken his hand.”