The Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has been punished by the Formula One authorities after initiating a physical confrontation with the Force India driver Esteban Ocon in the aftermath of yesterday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
The incident was sparked when the Dutchman Verstappen approached Ocon to lap him while leading the race at Interlagos, the Frenchman Ocon wasn’t inclined to give way to let him pass easily and the pair came into contact, sending the Red Bull car into a spin and condemning him to a second-placed finish.
Verstappen fury was immediately clear. "I hope I can't find him now in the paddock because that guy has a f****** problem," he was heard to say to his team over the mic.
He did find the Frenchman in the paddock, rather readily, and a physical altercation ensued. It amounted to a spot of pushing and shoving, which was dimly viewed by the stewards.
Verstappen will have to serve two days of public service after being adjudged to have been to blame for “started an altercation” and “pushing or hitting Ocon forcibly several times in the chest”.
But the Dutchman’s boss was behind his driver after the event and told Sky F1: "I think he has been pretty restrained, to be honest with you, it's cost him a Grand Prix victory."
"He's driven his heart out with a damaged car. Esteban was lucky to get away with a push."
Verstappen, perhaps cooling down after the heat of battle, struck a more conciliatory tone.
“I lost a victory but hopefully in 15 years time, we can laugh about it," he said.
Lewis Hamilton went on to sweep another victory, with his team Mercedes securing their fifth consecutive constructors’ championship, to add to the drivers’ title their Hamilton had secured at the Mexican Grand Prix.
It’s the fifth consecutive constructors’ and drivers’ double that they’ve won, matching a record set by Ferrari in 2000-2004.