Verstappen sentenced to two days of community service after shoving Ocon
Dutch driver was incensed after French man cost him victory in Brazilian Grand Prix
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in a spin after crashing with Esteban Ocon of Force India during the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo. Photograph: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Max Verstappen has been sentenced to two days of community service by Formula One’s governing body after he shoved Esteban Ocon following Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
Verstappen, furious with Ocon after their collision denied the Red Bull driver a fine win at Interlagos, squared up to the Frenchman as he was about to be weighed, before pushing him three times.
FIA officials had to jump in and restrain Ocon from retaliating.
The dramatic incident was caught on camera, and both Verstappen, 21, and Ocon, one year the Dutchman’s senior, were hauled in front of the stewards.
Verstappen, who finished second to Lewis Hamilton, was found guilty of “starting an altercation, pushing or hitting Ocon forcefully several times in the chest”, and failing to “act as a role model to drivers of all levels”.
As such, the Dutchman must now serve two days of work of “public interest” at the FIA’s request within the next six months.
Verstappen was seething with rage after his collision with Ocon on lap 44.
Ocon, one lap down on the Dutchman and in 16th place, went wheel-to-wheel with the race leader at 220mph, before he banged into the right-rear of Verstappen’s car through the Senna Esses, sending him into a race-losing spin.
“What a f****** idiot,” Verstappen fumed over the radio before he recovered to finish less than two seconds behind Hamilton.
“I don’t know what to say,” Verstappen’s race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase said.
“I know what to say,” Verstappen replied. “I hope I don’t find him in the paddock.”
The rest of his message contained a series of bleeped-out expletives.
Following their explosive altercation, Ocon, who was hit with a 10-second stop-and-go penalty during the race – the most severe punishment available to the stewards – called Verstappen a “lunatic” on French TV and stood by his move.
“With Max it did not work out,” he said. “That’s one thing. But what is worse is Max’s behaviour afterwards – being violent, pushing me, wanting to punch me. The FIA had to stop him.
“That is not a professional way of handling things. I would do the same again.”