Verstappen, Ocon clash on and off track at Brazilian GP
SAO PAULO (AP) — Max Verstappen pushed Force India’s Esteban Ocon after the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday following a collision on the track when the Red Bull driver was leading the race. Verstappen was later ordered to perform two days of public service at the direction of motorsport governing body FIA within six months.
Verstappen finished second in the race, which was won by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
The collision happened on lap 44 at Interlagos when backmarker Ocon was trying to overtake to unlap himself.
Moments after crossing the line second, Verstappen said over the radio to his team: “I hope I can’t find him (Ocon) in the paddock now” and the Dutchman then added a couple of expletives.
Verstappen cut off his post-race interview to confront Ocon.
The Frenchman pushed Verstappen’s hand away, but Verstappen appeared to shove Ocon in the chest twice as the Force India driver seemed to beckon to his mechanics for help.
As Ocon grinned and seemed to say something, Verstappen pushed him hard again in the chest and walked off, before turning around and pointing a finger.
At a news conference later, Verstappen said he insulted Ocon to his face and said it was fair that the Frenchman received a stop-go penalty after the incident.
Ocon did not apologize in an interview after the incident.
“What really displeases me is his behavior afterward, coming to see me and then violently shoving me,” Ocon told Canal Plus television. “To behave like a lunatic clearly isn’t right and not sporting.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner defended Verstappen’s actions, saying that “Ocon has to take responsibility. He’s cost him a Grand Prix victory today.”
AP Sports Writer Jerome Pugmire in Paris contributed to this report.