Max Verstappen, Esteban Ocon, Interlagos, 2018

F1 drivers differ over Ocon-Verstappen clash and aftermath

2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers gave a mix of views on the collision between Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon in the Brazilian Grand Prix and its aftermath.

Force India driver Sergio Perez, who’s had several collisions with team mate Ocon, believes Verstappen should have given him more space.

“Obviously it’s not great to see that kind of incident,” said Perez when asked by Racefans. “It was difficult decision for both of them.

“There was a point where I feel that Esteban tried too much with the race leader. But also the race leader didn’t give him any room to avoid the contact. There was a point where Esteban tried too much but there was a point also where he couldn’t do anything. He had no space.

“So it was very unfortunate. I think what happened wasn’t great but it should not harm more his reputation. I think a lot of people have been very harsh on him the past week. He’s a very good driver, he did a mistake and he knows that but at the same time I also feel that Max did a mistake too not have avoided the accident.”

However Valtteri Bottas said he could “see Max’s frustration” at being knocked into a spin by Ocon, who was trying to un-lap himself.

“He was going for the win,” said Bottas in response to a question from RaceFans. “When you’re overtaking a backmarker normally you do expect respect and not a collision. So for sure it’s unexpected for him, what happened. So I do see the frustration.”

Max Verstappen, Esteban Ocon, Interlagos, 2018
Bottas had a ringside seat
Verstappen could have left Ocon more space but didn’t have to, said Bottas. “If you would have wanted to play it safe – I don’t know how much there was margin behind someone – sure it would have been possible. But in the end he doesn’t have to because he’s overtaking a backmarker.”

Bottas was standing by the pair after the race when Verstappen began shoving Ocon, and criticised the Red Bull driver’s behaviour.

“Honestly I don’t see the point in pushing anyone. What does it help? We’re all free to say anything we think but I think for the sport in general, sportsmanship in all the sports, it’s not right. That’s why he got a punishment for that. So I think that’s solved.

Fernando Alonso also “I would not support that because I think personal contact should not be the way to go. But everyone is different.

“Max is very aggressive, very emotional as well. But it’s part of his success as well. Everyone is different.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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33 comments on “F1 drivers differ over Ocon-Verstappen clash and aftermath”

  1. Could not have been more delighted than to see that happen to Max, his fabled defensive driving genius is in reality just him saying ‘either let me do what I want or we crash’ so if it was going to happen to someone I’m glad it was the self-entitled whiny little spoiled brat

    1. +1, well said

    2. The class of the F1 fan

    3. I’m glad it was the self-entitled whiny little spoiled brat

      Very sad people some who call themselves “fans”.

      1. I don’t refer to myself as a fanatic, thanks.

    4. Hahah sounds like someone is jealous..

  2. Bottas thought Max was overtaking Ocon? It was the other way round…

    1. I suspect that’s more a slip of the tongue or English as a second language mistake, rather than any actual misapprehension of the facts.

    2. A lapped car, by definition, isn’t overtaking a race leader. He is a lap down and not relevant to the race. Therefore a lapped has no business to ‘race’ the race leader and any discussion about what the race leader could have done more to avoid contact simply becomes a moot point, imho.

      1. I guess there’s little point in rehashing this debate but… Verstappen turned an unlapping into a race when he contested Ocon unlapping himself. How did that happen? Verstappen had been conserving tyres and going slower than Ocon. When Ocon went to pass (after checking he could with his team) Verstappen blocked his attempt to unlap on the inside to turn one and Ocon – already at speed to unlap himself – went round the outside, retaining the same speed, which gave him the inside line to turn two. The first question is whether Ocon should have immediately desisted from unlapping himself when the race leader decided to prevent him from doing so. I don’t think so, I think he was entitled to maintain his speed until completing the first corner at least. Anything else is unreasonable: it would mean lapped drivers never being able to unlap themselves, even if the car ahead is going slower and compromising their race. The latter could just speed up a bit every time an attempt was made and claim the right to the racing line every corner. The second question is the ensuing collision at the second corner. Verstappen clearly gives no room for the corner when he could have without really affecting his race. He wanted to make a point to Ocon rather than concentrate on winning the race (as Hamilton told him after the race). Had he given space and then shown Ocon that he wanted to remain ahead on the next straight and corner, that would be fine. He’d then be showing that he hadn’t just speeded up to block Ocon from unlapping himself (which I suspect was his only motive) but had decided to speed up in general. The third point, of course, is just how willing Verstappen has been to compromise or threaten to compromise (expressly threaten) the races and championship bids of Vettel and Hamilton at various points this season. He showed no compromise with Vettel in Japan when the latter tried to pass him. He knew Hamilton was giving him a ton of room at Austin, more than usual, when he tried to pass at the end of the race. And yet he expected Ocon to treat him differently from how he treats other drivers? You reap what you sow.

        1. The third point,

          all situations where there was serious racing involved. Ver was not a backmarker in a slower car with faster tires for one or two laps trying on a extremely clumsy way to unlap his car.

          1. Serious racing for Vettel and Hamilton. The latter desisted from trying to gain potentially important extra points because of the risk of colliding with a hyper-aggressive (and happily so) Verstappen. I emphasize that I don’t have an issue with Verstappen being an aggressive driver, his defence against Vettel was fine in my view. But I do have an issue with him expecting others to cede way to him. That happened on various occasions this season, not just Ocon. For example, returning to the track in Japan and colliding with Raikkonen – he suggested RAI could have braked and taken another line to avoid him! Or his pushing Hamilton off track in Bahrain – which was exaggerated, but ultimately cost him not Hamilton. These for me are displays of immature driving that he needs to eliminate without losing that aggressive edge that – for instance – meant he was capable of driving into first place in Brazil (while Ricciardo got stuck behind the same drivers). I’m a fan of Verstappen. I just think he deserved most of the blame in the Ocon incident. Nothing Hamilton wasn’t trying to tell him (and as a genuine mentor – I think Hamilton sees Verstappen very much as a similar driver and his successor).

      2. @jeffreyj
        Semantics. Also:

        He is a lap down and not relevant to the race.

        Not true, if there was a safety car it could be the difference between being right behind your opponent or a lap down (I know they normally let lapped cars past but not always, and they don’t always wait for them to catch the train), he was still in the hunt for the points at that moment so saying he’s ‘not relevant’ is patently false.

        1. he was still in the hunt for the points

          only if 4 or 5 other cars DNFed.
          So not a realistic scenario. And if you are behind the safety car you a re not allowed to overtake. Only to pass the SC on request.. not following the train does not really matter.

          1. Orange liar. Is it cosy there, on Max’ lap? Always trying to defend him and to excuse any faults of Max, hahahahhahahah.
            Ocon was well on the way getting P11, easily. Without any DNF. So he was very much fighting for points. In fact, he could have challenged Perez in the last 30 laps or so, trying to overcome a 10s gap to him, with Perez on softs and Ocon on supers.

            Muhahahhahahahhahahhahaahaahahahha, TRUTH.

            Ziggoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, hahahahahahahhahahahaha.

      3. @jeffreyj

        I agree with George. The fact Ocon was in the mid-field does not make him irrelevant.

        In this case first was settled. The Ferraris we’re slow, so Hamilton and Verstappen we’re cruising home. But the midfield contest was tight and Ocon didn’t have time to wait on someone nursing their tires.

        Also, the constructor’s championship is settled for the top three. For hundreds of people the midfield contest will impact their jobs.

        Finally, thousands of fans care about the teams and drivers in the midfield. Do we want F1 to just be the Lewis Hamilton show?

      4. Jeffrey: except that there is bad blood between these two and BOTH new exactly what they were doing!!

        1. In that case Ocon did it on purpose and should be banned!
          Not sure if that’s the inevitable conclusion you wanted to make.

          Ocon T boned Verstappen and should be very lucky with his light penalty.. a black flag should have been waved.

          1. Your reasoning is as illogical as your conclusion.

  3. They’ll also differ 10 years from today.

  4. And yet, despite differing opinions from those with first hand, current experience, ‘fans’ in the comments will continue to deride and abuse others for not being able to see the completely obvious rightness of their particular view.

    Here’s a tip for anyone planning on such a dogmatic viewpoint – remember that any view you hold about an on-track incident, penalty, or driver reaction, is likely to be disputed by some of the current F1 drivers. Perhaps allowing a little room for differences of opinion might, in that context, be in order.

    1. Johan Tolemans
      23rd November 2018, 8:40

      It seems there is concensus that the push is understandable but not the way to go.
      As for the bullying tactics, it is something nobody on track in F1 does to the degree Max does it, because they know it does not work. This way he will never be wdc and I am sure his competitors do not particularly mind that.

      All I wonder about: will everyone act surprised when Max finally ends up in the hospital or worse? Will there be the first F1 hooligan fight started by his fans?

      1. mmm… I can remember the fights between Schumacher en Coulthard, Senna and Irvine, Piquet and somebody (?), they seemed to be doing alright in the championship :-)

        1. I actually lost count so can’t give stats but I’m pretty sure none of them had the same crash / collision ratio.

      2. Will there be the first F1 hooligan fight started by his fans?

        strange remark.. his fans in several races were enthusiast for other drivers and cheered for them (i.e. even when VER had a DNF in the first lap at Spa)
        No like booing “fans” in UK of Italy .
        And your “wondering” looks a lot like “hoping”. Not so nice to say the least.

        1. What you read is not what I wrote, so that is in your head, not mine.

          VES is crashing more races than most and the more you crash the more chance there is it ends badly. It’s called chance calculation.

          I was at Spa when Hill took his win in a Jordan. Where first Germans roared the UK fans politely clapped. “Jolly good show”. And the Germans went home quietly.
          I was also at Spa with the “Orange Legion” was there and rude doesn’t begin to describe it. Seemed to me it could turn sour quite quickly.

          Read into that what you want.

    2. Well said, @bookgrub.
      It is totally understandable that we fans have preferences for certain drivers, and it will most likely taint one’s view of the action.
      But we should always remain civil when discussing this, to the drivers and even more so to the other commenters.

      PS – This includes some of my previous reactions. Sorry to those on the receiving end.

    3. The only drivers who don’t think Ocon is 100% to blame are his team mate and the driver who profitted from his stupid move.

  5. I agree with pretty much on everything with them especially Bottas.

  6. I love how Bottas looks so calm in that picture. I’m resisting the temptation to caption his possible thoughts.

  7. I think it is a question of two wrongs not making a right? Ocon was wrong to continue the pass into turn two. Max was wrong to close the door at turn two and expect Ocon to yield. (If they had not touched, I would expect no action from the stewards, racing incident) As Ocon was not alongside into turn two, he got the penalty for being responsible for an on track collision. I support Ocon in trying to unlap himself but he went in to aggressive, especially knowing that Max defends extremely hard.

    Max won the battle, but lost the race.

    Max trying to intimidate the opposition is not winning more friends, but he may win more races!!

  8. I believe there’s been more fighting in the comment sections than in that garage after the race.

    1. There’s been massive fighting in the comments, the biggest one since England vs Russia at Euro 2016.

Comments are closed.