Watch: F1 push and shove as Max Verstappen erupts in pit lane
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Who said Formula 1 wasn't dramatic?
The Brazilian Grand Prix has long been known as one of the most unpredictable and exciting races on the calendar, with many of the category's most iconic moments often unfolding at the South American venue. And this morning's race didn't disappoint. The race win went to newly crowned champion Lewis Hamilton, who lead home Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen. Kiwi Brendon Hartley finished 11th, after conquering teammate Pierre Gasly in the dying laps as he tries to earn a seat in Toro Rosso's 2019 line-up.
But the podium could've looked very different if it wasn't for a late incident between Verstappen and Force India driver Esteban Ocon.
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Ocon (who, like Hartley, is also racing for his F1 career) was pushing to un-lap himself in the run to the chequered flag. Verstappen led at the time, and did so comfortably over Hamilton with pace to burn. It looked like he was going to grab back-to-back victories — a rare feat given Mercedes' dominance of the sport in this era.
Ocon made his move to get past leader Verstappen with the chequered flag in sight, but it didn't come off. The Dutchman defended a lunge in the braking zone of turn one, and then ran Ocon a little wide exiting the corner and into the flowing turn two. Ocon's response was to simply commit to the move, and the pairing made contact.
Both cars spun, sending Verstappen out of the lead of what looked likely to be his sixth GP win. Following the race, things spilled over in the Weigh Bridge Garage queue — Verstappen getting physical with Ocon. Asked about the situation in the press conference, Verstappen replied; "I don't really have lots to comment on that, except that he was being a p***y."
Conspiracy theorists have also speculated that the contact might've been deliberate, given that Ocon is currently a Mercedes-contracted driver in a team that utilizes Mercedes engines.
While F1 fans have lapped up the emotion, the FIA haven't been so welcoming. They've since ordered that Verstappen will have to complete two days of public service "at the discretion of the FIA".
"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," they said in their official statement.
"The stewards understood from Max Verstappen that he was extremely upset by the incident on track during the race and accepted his explanation that it was not his original intent to strike Ocon, but that he was "triggered" and caused him to lose his temper.
"While sympathetic to Verstappen's passion, the stewards determined that it is the obligation of sportsmen at this level to act appropriately and as role models to other drivers at all levels and found that Verstappen failed in this respect."