Jacques Villeneuve has labelled Esteban Ocon an embarrassment after the lapped Force India driver bumped off race leader Max Verstappen during a tense and action-packed Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday at Interlagos.
The incident on lap 44 of the race has triggered massive debate among Formula 1 fans, with Villeneuve weighing in with his opinion and told reporters, “Ocon is an embarrassment.”
“That was ridiculous. And the worst bit is everyone has seen what happened, and on the radio not even a ‘sorry guys, I was wrong.’ It’s good to accept you’re wrong.”
“You can unlap yourself, but do it properly. You’re not allowed to put the leader at risk at all. You don’t do something that loses time for the other driver, and is taking a risk.
“Overtaking on the straight and you’re in front is fine. But that looked like it was a battle for the lead.”
Villeneuve points to several incidents involving Ocon, many with teammate Sergio Perez, “It shows he has no racecraft, zero racecraft whatsoever. All the incidents in the last two years where maybe it’s his fault, maybe it’s not, you can kind of think that maybe he was in the wrong, because he hasn’t read the race properly.
“And he never learns, because it’s never his fault, ever,” argued the 1997 Formula 1 World Champion turned Sky Italia pundit.
Typically Formula 1 opinions are divided on the matter, one side believing that Ocon deserved a race or two ban, while the other side believing the Frenchman did no wrong, and in fact blame Verstappen.
But F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting found Ocon’s move to be irresponsible, “He’s absolutely allowed to un-lap himself. That’s clear. It’s happened many times in the past. Of course you would expect it to be done safely. But more to the point it should be done cleanly and absolutely without fighting. He shouldn’t be fighting to get past.
“If he’s got the pace then normally one would expect Red Bull to say ‘Ocon’s got the pace, just let him through’, that sort of thing. But it seemed that he just went for it and it was a bit unfortunate that he decided to fight for it which was wholly unacceptable,” added Whiting.