Max Verstappen, Esteban Ocon, Interlagos, 2018

Verstappen: No regrets over altercation with Ocon

2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen says he doesn’t regret his behaviour towards Esteban Ocon after the Brazilian Grand Prix despite being sanctioned by the FIA.

The stewards ordered Verstappen to perform two days of public service for committing “acts prejudicial to the interests of… motor sport”. The Red Bull driver confronted Ocon and shoved the Force India three times following the collision between the pair at Interlagos.

Asked during today’s FIA press conference whether he regretted his behaviour Verstappen said: “No not really, because I was after an apology and I got a bit of a different response.

“We are all emotional. At the time I lost the victory. So I think from my side I was really calm. It could have been much worse.

“I think pushing, in any sport, it happens. I just saw a few days ago in football again. From my side it was quite a calm response.

“What do you expect me to do, shake his hand? Thank you very much for being second instead of first? I think it’s quite a normal response. I got my two days with the FIA which we’ll find out what we’re going to do.”

Verstappen indicated he pushed Ocon because he was unhappy with his rival’s response when the pair spoke at the FIA garage after the race. “You guys don’t really hear what’s being said at the scales,” he said. “You just see me pushing. But if you understand the whole conversation I think it’s a bit different.”

Asked what Ocon said to him, Verstappen said: “Something I didn’t expect to hear.

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“It doesn’t matter what it was at the end of the day because it clearly pissed me off instead of, straight away, an apology. Maybe after the race you are still, the adrenaline in your body, you maybe don’t get the right answer.”

Esteban Ocon, Max Verstappen., Interlagos, 2018
Why Verstappen should have been banned for shoving Ocon
The pair collided during the race while Ocon was trying to un-lap himself from Verstappen, who was leading at the time. Verstappen said Ocon, who was on fresh tyres at the time, shouldn’t have tried to get past.

“I think for two laps you feel you have decent pace but the guys in the lead they are most of the time not pushing flat-out to get somewhere because once you’re ion the lead, what do you want to do? Maybe you want to try and get past and pull away but within two laps your tyres have gone or at least the peak is gone and you end up letting us by again.

“That whole process to try and get by you’re also destroying your tyres in a way. So I think it’s always better to just stay behind and follow. Clearly that was not the case.”

Speaking in the same press conference Ocon explained why he had tried to un-lap himself.

“I had a slow pit stop so I came in between Lewis [Hamilton] and Max, got the blue flags after a couple of corners I got away from the blue flags and I was quite fast behind Max. I was stuck, the team came into the radio saying you can un-lap yourself if you want and if you are faster.

“As Max said he was managing the tyres so I went for it. It was important for us to get close to the top 10 pack if something happens, a penalty or anything, I could have got in the points.”

Ocon said he was sorry Verstappen lost his chance of victory in the collision. “It’s not a great thing to be involved in a crash with the leader of course. It’s not a thing you want to see. I’m sorry for Max, it was his race to win, he did a fantastic job during the whole race.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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80 comments on “Verstappen: No regrets over altercation with Ocon”

  1. Typical comments of who, with the retirement of Alonso, is the worst driver of formula 1, from the sports point of view.

    1. And by the time Max retires I’m sure there will be other drivers for grumpy old men to get upset about :P

    2. are you referring to Ocon who refused to make a apology in the incident.. the ultimate unsporting behavior?
      Probably not but reconsider it.

    3. @jorge-lardone

      Good to see you’ve got a head start on your new villain – Mad Max.
      Hope you enjoyed Vettel and Ferrari’s performance this season.

  2. “What do you expect me to do, shake his hand? Thank you very much for being second instead of first?

    I know it’s so wrong, but I love this! We can expect sparks with Max & Gasly next year.

    1. The pushing was wrong, but I do understand (not condone) it, @phylyp.

      Interestingly if Ocon would have said what he said today (“I’m sorry for Max”), then there would not have been an altercation.
      That, of course, would be terrible for all grumpy old men (see above) and young kids (I’m sure Max will attend some karting events as community service) ;)

      1. @coldfly – oh dear, if Ocon had apologized then and there, so many electrons would have had no purpose in life this last fortnight. Thanks to Ocon, they were put to amazing use on the internet :-)

        But yeah, I like this feisty attitude from both parties. I’d criticize specific instances of various drivers, but in all, it’s good fun. Imagine a grid full of Bottas and Ericsson clones (temperamentally) – we’d feel even the Pirellis have better character and charisma.

        1. @coldfly @phylyp From what I understand, Ocon provoked Verstappen on purpose to get a reaction out of him. Which is probably a sentence nine words too long!

          Ocon seems like a really mean-spirited two-faced individual. He says one thing to Verstappen and a completely different thing to the media, playing Mr. Innocent Nice Guy.

          Whereas Verstappen is unapologetically passionate and there are not two sides to his stories. He really says what he thinks, like it or not.

          The way they both behaved is wrong and I can’t condone it either but, boy, do I get a kick out of this sort of stuff too! The FIA should enforce post-match boxing matches between drivers who have aggressive altercations, to take place after the awards giving ceremony.

          1. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember how to spell the word ‘goad’, and now that I’ve posted my reply, it pops straight into my brain. Damn fool!

          2. boy, do I get a kick out of this sort of stuff too! The FIA should enforce post-match boxing matches between drivers who have aggressive altercations, to take place after the awards giving ceremony.

            That’ll solve FWONK’s financial problems, @shimks.
            And if not they can always include $9m golf match

            PS, maybe you can use the ‘goad’ comment here:

  3. “That whole process to try and get by you’re also destroying your tyres in a way. So I think it’s always better to just stay behind and follow. Clearly that was not the case.”

    [sarc] Yes. That’s exactly what Max would have done had the roles been reversed…[/sarc]

    1. Cleary @glennb :) But

      Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi

      I suppose!

      1. clearly should be: ‘Quod licet bovi non licet Oconi’ ;)

        1. @coldfly – LOL, that is indeed more appropriate :-)

    2. @glennb we shall see him next year in mid field hopefully and see what he will to not unlap himself in a similar situation… given the current honda unit, it is likely we will see him in same situation and we will find out his EMOTIONS RUNNING HIGH!

  4. The bottom line, as per Ocon’s penalty, is not whether he had a right to unlap himself or not, but that he did so aggressively and created the scenario of contact being made when race leaders simply are not to be aggressively challenged. Max’s reaction was understandable and Ocon could have immediately diffused the situation with contrition and an apology, but rather it sounds like he rubbed more salt into the wound. Ocon was wrong to try an aggressive pass attempt on Max, and then he was wrong to not diffuse the situation afterwards. Max was wrong to push Ocon three times, but his reaction, while not to be condoned, was understandable in the heat of the moment. As if Ocon was surprised that Max would be furious. He should have expected exactly the reaction Max had, and not added further to it.

    1. It wasn’t the heat of the moment, it was a long time after the incident and he deliberately wanted to start a fight.

      Went out of his way to do so.

      1. It was actually minutes. And he wanted an apology, not a fight.

        1. He acts like the bully that he is. I hope he keeps up his childishness. Sport needs a villain. Too bad he is just a child instead.

    2. @robbie Ocon didn’t aggressively try to unlap himself, Max aggressively defended for some unknown reason and got what he deserved as far as I’m concerned.

      1. Yes.
        If Ocon had made a clean pass into turn 1, then fair enough, but it was the half hearted, 30% (a best) chance of an overtake into the Senna S which was the problem. If he had the tyres he said he did, he could have easily taken Max down the next straight. Pointless.

    3. @ Robbie

      Ocon could have immediately diffused the situation with contrition and an apology

      You know, if someone came up to your face, swearing (as Max was) and then shoving you, I wonder if you would show “contrition”? I get you’re an overzealous Max fan, but that you condone Verstappen’s deplorable behaviour I think sums it up. You seem to be so far up Max’s you know what that you clearly fail the reasonable test.

      To use your own arguments against you- if the stewards ruled Ocon was at fault- and you treat this as gospel, then the stewards are also right in penalising Max for his conduct post race. Or does that only apply to Ocon and not Max?

      Just remember- F1 isn’t like football or rugby, or even ice hockey. Whether you like it or not it’s not a contact sport in that sense and that sort of behaviour is few and far between. On that note, I am of the view that sports people who are at the premier class of their field, be it motorsport, football etc do have a moral obligation to set an example for the young ones who look up to them. There is nothing to admire about Verstappen’s reaction and that you think it’s acceptable perhaps speaks volumes.

      1. +2

        Lots of max fans are blinded much more than max himself… at least max has the excuse of being in it and not seeing it from an angle! Do anyone here believe, that if Ocon was leading and pacing, and MAX was coming like ocon did, max was gonna yield and back off Seriously? what are we doing here? /s

        Max would have raced that corner whether he was backmarker or leading no matter what! He thinks he is better driver, and never assumes mistakes speaks volumes for his character…

        Max is no angle and definitely not the one to back off has the roles changed as he ill-advised, if anyone thinks max would think racing leader was bad idea, and he would back off, doesnt understand max’s childish attitude towards strategy let alone racing!

  5. I think it is a bit foolish to expect Ocon to apologise when he knows, as well as Max did, who was the one that closed the door; the only reason Ocon got the penalty was because the stewards feel those ahead are more special competitors (as with Grosjean’s Spa ban ‘because Alonso and Hamilton were involved’) than those behind, and so Ocon should indeed have followed meekly. Had Max been the lapped car, I have little doubt he would feel quite differently @robbie

    1. Wow, making up new -your own- rules?

      Backmarkers can only unlap themselves if the frontrunner is not affected at all.

      At all!

      1. the front runner who hates to be overtaken should not chopped off car that was in basic side by side?

      2. peter: rulebook doesnt define any way to unlap… but rulers do make up reasons to punish people as they please…

    2. @bosyber It is not just the stewards that feel those leading (disingenuous for you to say those ahead) are special competitors. It is F1 as a whole and has been this way for decades. Simply, backmarkers and unlappers have a responsibility to not harass the race leader. So Ocon got a penalty for doing that.

      1. @Robbie oh, I know, though of course there was a time there weren’t blue flags, but it just didn’t happen because the front was sooo much faster than the other rans, but had Max not fought Ocon, his race would not have been impacted much at all; Of course Ocon got a penalty because he thought his race more important than being careful about Max’s race, and we have had increasing problems this year with backmarkers influencing the race of the frontrunners (probably because these cars are make it so hard to follow they are desperate not to let an opportunity go), which makes it quite understandable that the stewards came down on him this way.

        Disingenuous, lol, of course, might just be you reading something I did not intend; I, obviously (as in, the most reasonable way to read it), meant those who are in the teams at the lead of the WDC and races, versus the mid and rear of the field there. I still think that all racers have a responsibility not to harass each other on the track or off it, but maybe others don’t.

        I think @peter, you are the one making up rules – there’s nothing in the written rules about only when it doesn’t affect the frontrunner at all, that is the current interpretation. Do you believe Red Bull or Verstappen would be okay if the situation was reversed? I know (after having just listened to Allard Kalf) for sure that most of his support in the media in NL would not, because we’d want a fast guy that wants to prove himself to try and get ahead of his former rival who is now in the – generally – faster car. But, Ocon should probably have yielded before Verstappen decided to block him, and that decision wasn’t the smartest move Verstappen made (I think that’s why he was so angry, bc. he knows what Hamilton said to him is true), but, he’ll come back and we’ll hopefully see him fight for the WDC next year (with Ocon not being around).

        1. I think @peter, you are the one making up rules – there’s nothing in the written rules about only when it doesn’t affect the frontrunner at all, that is the current interpretation.

          Rules always need interpretation.. so like you yourself stated: it’s the current interpretation. So Ocon was wring according to the rules and the way F1 uses them.

          but had Max not fought Ocon, his race would not have been impacted much at all;

          Again you turn the events.. if Ocon kept the rules and the way F1 uses them there would be no incident and VER would have won!

        2. “Do you believe Red Bull or Verstappen would be okay if the situation was reversed?”

          @bosyber: Totally not! Never must a backmarker interfere, never!

          1. peter: it is not even April 1 yet…

  6. I really want to like Max but he makes it so difficult with comments like this. He’s such a talented driver but his black and white approach to everything is something I can’t get my head around. Lewis matured over the years and seems to have found a more peaceful and rational approach, especially in his racing. Max really needs someone to take him to one side and make him look at what other drivers like Lewis have done in the sport and how they’ve approached it. 2014 was a massive season for Lewis, it was the season he really learnt that picking up regular points is more important than winning at all costs. I’m not sure Max quite understands that yet and next season if RB have a quick car that’s on the same level as the Merc and Ferrari, they need Max to perform over 20+ races, not just picking up wins and making daring moves when he has nothing to lose. That is my only doubt about Max, that when it comes to it, can he not take the risky move and take 18 points and move on. Comments like the one about Ocon just shows me that he has one way of thinking and he doesn’t deviate from that.

    1. Then let’s give Max the number of seasons LH has had, always on top 3 teams, and then let’s judge Max, rather than expecting him to have learned all that LH has, but in a far shorter time span. Max is and will be exceptional and will be a multiple race and Championship winner. And it was only a few years ago that LH spent the season accusing his team of favouring NR, so…methinks Max will see his career play out one race at a time, one season at a time, and it’s going to be a blast to watch unfold.

      1. @robbie I’m not expecting him to have learnt everything Hamilton has. I just don’t seem him being on that road at all, he keeps blocking all his critics out. Like I said, I really want to like the guy, he has all the tools to become a great but he’s still so childish…luckily he’s 21 so he has plenty of time to sort that out. He may need to break away from his father at some point to realise his potential.

        1. @wrighty88 How do you know he keeps blocking all his critics out? Or, more to the point, why would he listen to his critics when he has support from his literal family and his team family who can advise him, not criticize him? It would seem something or someone got to him after Monaco. Either he realized himself how costly a silly error can be, or someone finally put it to him that there is no point in him defeating himself and that he must stop overdriving the car. I simply disagree that he is childish. Far from it he is mature beyond his age in many ways, and strong minded and highly driven and motivated, and human. He has the traits of a WDC.

          1. @robbie Simply because sometimes people too close to you can’t always dispense the best advice or are harder to talk to when it comes to short comings. Lewis laid a truth bomb on him when they were discussing Brazil and Max shut up very quickly because he realised he was right. This season Max has been on the other side of that situation, throwing stupid lunges in and spinning title challengers because he was never in the title race, he had nothing to lose. Look how many times Lewis has basically avoided him and told him as much yet Max wasn’t switched on enough to realise that he wasn’t racing Ocon. Ocon had nothing to lose. A wise person would realise that. I really can’t wait to see Max is a car that can battle for the title to see if he’s really got what it takes, he can win races for sure but the guy hates coming second too much. Will he do what he did at Monza? Will he give aggressive back markers space? Will he still throw in lunges for a long way back?

          2. @wrighty88 But it wasn’t a truth bomb because the truth is that Ocon got the penalty. It is easy for LH to say what he said in hindsight and as a non participant in the situation. Has LH ever been challenged aggressively to the point of contact by an unlapper? Max had no reason to expect such an aggressive challenge from an unlapper. I think we have already seen what Max can do in a third place car, so when he has a WCC car I think it is safe to say he’ll be awesome.

            Sure Max has made some mistakes this season and appears to have changed his thinking since Monaco. Brazil was not an equivalent scenario though, because as per Ocon’s penalty, what Ocon did was not fair nor expected. Had Max and all the drivers been under new rules that say that unlapping cars can treat the race leader as if it was just another car one is to fight for position with, and not have to heed that it is the race leader, then different story and I’m sure Max would have known to expect anything.

          3. @robbie

            Look at the Singpore GP this season, Lewis knows all too well that scrapping with backmarkers is pointless, you don’t end up winning. He backed well of Grosjean and Sirotkin, so he does practice what he preaches. Max may well be the quickest driver next season but will he be the most consistent? Will he be able to take on Lewis over a whole season not just the odd race. These questions remain unanswered. Until Max proves otherwise, Lewis the king of F1.

    2. I actually like Max all the more for it. I like the fact that he doesnt feel the need to polish his lines to conform to the politically correct thing to say all the time.

      He is being honest, even when it is not in his best interest to be – which is the only time when honesty actually counts for something.

  7. Ocon is a rat. Look at his face immediatly after the race. He had ruined Verstappens victory but smiles. After the race he smiled during intervies. Is that a soincere man that feels sorry to have robbed another from victory? If you’re sincere you can only be sad for the one you just damaged.

    Today Ocon finally made his excuse. Not because he feels that way, but because it will be best for his image and career. Ocon is a rat.

    1. I’m sure the Lauda comparison would be welcomed by Ocon.

      1. No comparison at all, Shunt called Lauda a rat but this is different. Nobody calls Ocon a rat, but he is a rat.

    2. I get that youre unhappy with Ocon, but you should be careful about reading too much into facial expressions in a photograph – the journalist probably selected the best from a series that supported his desired narrative.

      In the second photo in the article above you could also read “surprise” or “disbelief” in Ocon’s expression. The two gents to his left also seem rather unimpressed… but both are looking at Max (or at least not at Esteban).

  8. Verstappen would do well to just shut up and do his talking on the track.

    But his real fault is his bad temper, ungoverned and boosted by conceit which is likely to cause a real problem before too long, either for him or for someone else.

    1. LOL, last race his talking on the track was like a historical speech of greatness. Untill he got shot.

      1. KARMA shot him where it was due! He can talk now all he wants.. :)

  9. the FIA official face is priceless… “not the scales, again!!!!”

    1. @dubsix Joe Bauer, LOL.

    2. @dubsix – indeed, that was what caught my eye that Sunday as well, although yours is far funnier than my lame attempt.

      @jerejj – ah, so that’s Jo. I’ve read his name in various scrutineering-related articles, good to have a face to go with the name.

  10. Did I just hear that?

  11. I used to like Verstappen, but any ‘man’ that shows zero contrition is just a boy.

    1. Not when you don’t feel any contrition – then it is just an empty gesture. He is still honest in his emotions and responses, and I respect that a lot. I hope he doesnt becomes a polished media glovedoll too.

      1. Well he’s an idiot then. Pushing people around is no way to behave at work. If I did that in my office I’d probably be up for a disciplinary charge.

        Not being a ‘polished media glovedoll’ and being a douchebag are not the same thing.

  12. This is why I’m tired of the F1 community and media hyping up Verstappen and saying that he’s so ‘mature’. I have a son. I live in a city where if you lose your temper (sorry…. express your emotions) in traffic, you could get shot. How am I supposed to explain to him that the driver who millions of people are looking up to is someone you shouldn’t use as a role model? And the adults around this child are condoning his petulant behavior because it turns the whole thing into a circus, which helps create (the wrong type of) interest in a failing sport. There are just so may incidences of this lately in F1, and while I’m equipped to understand the hypocrisy, he’s still forming his ideas of the world. As for ME, I’m just finding it harder to respect the sport, so much as look at it as a fascinating trainwreck. Might be time to pull the plug.

    1. Jeez… if you dont mind me asking, where do you live?

    2. Yes pull the plug! What a nonsense!! Ocon is a real douchebag who laughs in ones face when an apology would be more than apropriate. But hey captain hi morals, why don’t i see any of your disgust about Ocon’s misbehaving?

      1. i think everyone would laugh at max’s face for being the fool he was in the race… he just had to cruise to victory but he couldnt resist to be bully as always… but Karma was there watching…

  13. Like father, like son…

    1. how does that make you feel about the german drivers ?? realisticly their ancensorts might have played a role in WWII.

      (maybe you’ll understand the sarcasm, you can’t simply judge a rapists son for his dad to be a rapist)

      1. He reminds me of his father as well. Attitude and actions. Is that clear enough?

        1. His father took out montoya and had the same attitude in the end… coincidence?

  14. The fact Max drove into another car and then expected an apology from the driver he hit speaks volumes. The fact that he hasn’t learned from this incident speaks more.

    It seems he is doomed to repeat his mistakes.

    1. The problem is he is doomed to win more races ;)

  15. 2 very different personalities in Max and Ocon. Esteban has said all of the “right” politically correct things in front of the camera whereas Max is speaking on pure emotion. Which do you like better? I prefer Max because he doesn’t sound like the other 19 robots on the grid when it comes down to it, maybe not 19 robots but more often than not we hear a driver hold in his emotions and say everything as if it’s coming from a script. Anyone in my opinion that doesn’t like this fresh attitude from Max may as well go get a bowl of vanilla ice cream and sit in front of a wall and watch paint dry while your wife cooks you dinner and does the dishes.

  16. In my opinion the incident has nothing to with who is involved. True now it is Ves and Ocon who are involved in the incident but basically it is not the point of the discussion. Even when you are lightyears behind you are allowed to unlap, however you may never do this putting the leader in danger IN ANY WAY. Stop referring to Ves his dad. If your father is a hero, makes that you a hero?

  17. I am so tired of Verstappen’s arrogance. Both men were aggressive – probably too aggressive. I am extrememly confident if the roles had been reversed that Verstappen would have gone for the pass. I wonder if Verstappen would have been penalised though.

    What Verstappen did afterwards was absolutely unacceptable in any civilised society. It may well be understandable in the heat of the moment, but for him to still suggest he was in the right all this time later defies belief. What was so bad about what Ocon said? I believe he said that he was faster, which at the time he was. Verstappen is obviously an outstanding talent in terms of raw speed and aggression on track, but he appears often to lack judgement. Off track he absolutely lacks judgement and is a poor excuse for a man.

  18. Trumpstappen

    1. And then the terrible attack happened…

  19. Max is already the best of all the drivers and he will get better and better
    A blind man can see that

    You might as well stop the hating now guys

  20. Two years later, I want Verstappen sacked from Red Bull.

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