F1: Verstappen handed public service for pushing Ocon
By Chris Medland | RACER magazine and RACER.com F1 correspondent
Max Verstappen has been ordered to serve two days of public service at the direction of the FIA for pushing Esteban Ocon following the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Ocon and Verstappen collided during the race as Ocon attempted to un-lap himself, costing the Red Bull driver a likely race victory and relegating him from the lead to second place. Ocon was given a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for the incident.
A furious Verstappen then confronted Ocon in the FIA garage after the race, pushing the Frenchman on a number of occasions before FIA delegates intervened.
After the pair visited the stewards together, Verstappen was handed a punishment under the FIA International Sporting Code that will see him carry out two days of public service over the next six months.
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“The driver, Max Verstappen entered the FIA Weigh Bridge Garage, proceeded directly to driver Esteban Ocon and following a few words, started an altercation, pushing or hitting Ocon forcefully several times in the chest,” the statement read.
“The Stewards held a hearing, in which both drivers acted appropriately and cooperated with the Stewards. The Stewards understood from 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.”
The penalty is similar to the resolution of a hearing into Sebastian Vettel’s actions during the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, when he made contact with Lewis Hamilton behind the safety car. At a meeting with the FIA, Vettel committed to devoting personal time over the following 12 months to educational activities across a variety of FIA championships and events.
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