Esteban Ocon received a 10-second stop-go penalty after stewards decided he was wrong to battle race-leader Max Verstappen going into Turn 1 during last weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
While Ocon was allowed to unlap himself as a back marker, F1 race director Charlie Whiting concluded that attempting to pass Verstappen going into Turn 1 was “wholly unacceptable.” Before the two made contact, Verstappen was leading the race, on pace to win.
The young Dutchman was furious and understandably so, cussing out Ocon over the radio and going as far as to track him down post-race and shove him in front of pretty much everyone else who was there – including other fellow drivers and the media.
According to Whiting, Ocon should have waited to get DRS into Turn 4 and attempt his pass, if he was truly quicker than Verstappen at that point.
“It’s happened many times in the past,” said the FIA exec while talking about lapped drivers passing frontrunners. “But of course you expect it to be done safely. It should be done cleanly and absolutely without fighting. You shouldn’t be fighting to get past.”
Ocon, as you might expect, feels quite differently:
I respect the FIA’s decision but just to be clear, if you are faster you are allowed to unlap yourself. I overtook 7 times into turn 2 this race it was always tight, but always fair… #EO31 #brazilgp #swipe⬅️ pic.twitter.com/UrmujIj09Q
— Esteban Ocon (@OconEsteban) November 11, 2018
Speaking of fighting, the shoving match was clearly initiated by Verstappen, who has since been ordered to complete two days of “public service at the discretion of the FIA within six months of the incident,” reports Autosport.
“Max Verstappen entered the FIA Weigh Bridge Garage, proceeded directly to Esteban Ocon and following a few words, started an altercation, pushing or hitting Ocon forcefully several times in the chest,” concluded the stewards, while also adding that it is understood that the Dutchman was extremely upset and passionate about what had happened during the race.