The high profile altercation between Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon, in the wake of the Brazilian Grand Prix, was investigated by FIA race stewards who deemed that the Red Bull driver overreacted in the drivers’ weigh-in room and have ordered him to two days of community service for losing his temper.
Verstappen was leading at Interlagos when Ocon tried to unlap himself and the two cars banged together, the impact sending the Dutchman into a spin that cost him a second successive victory.
The Red Bull driver, who had called the Frenchman an idiot over the radio among other more colourful language, was then seen on television angrily confronting Ocon and giving him a shove.
The 21-year-old was unrepentant when asked about it afterwards, “We are passionate about the sport, right? It would be odd if I would shake his hand.”
Verstappen dismissed those who said he had taken things too far, adding: “I don’t care what those people say, “I am a winner. To get taken out like that and then to get a stupid response from his side as well, I was unhappy about that.”
Video footage of Verstappen confronting Ocon after the race went viral and as result the pair were called into the FIA Stewards’ room afterwards to discuss the incident for which Ocon was penalised during the race.
But the Dutchman, clearly angered by losing out on a race which was his to win, was fuming and after confronting Ocon, was subdued on the podium walking off before the celebration champagne was sprayed.
The Stewards therefore ordered that Max Verstappen is required to perform two (2) days of public service
The FIA race stewards’ report:
The stewards reviewed video evidence from the FIA’s CCTV Cameras and heard from the driver of car 33 (Max Verstappen), the driver of car 31 (Esteban Ocon) and the team representatives.
The driver, Max Verstappen entered the FIA Weigh Bridge Garage, proceeded directly to driver Esteban Ocon and following a few words, started an altercation, pushing or hitting Ocon forcefully several times in the chest.
The stewards held a hearing, in which both drivers acted appropriately and cooperated with the Stewards. 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 loose 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.
The Stewards therefore ordered that Max Verstappen is required to perform two (2) days of public service at the direction of the FIA within six months of the incident. (Penalty under Art. 12.3.1.c of the FIA International Sporting Code.)
Additional Sources: FIA and Reuters