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Christian Horner comments on Max Verstappen confronting Esteban Ocon after Brazil GP

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Max Verstappen was on course to win back-to-back races for the time in his career at the Brazil Grand Prix on Sunday.

But, depending on which side of the debate you sit, he either threw away or had the opportunity stolen from him in a coming together with Esteban Ocon of Force India.

The two drivers collided at Interlagos' Senna S on lap 44 as they battled for position, despite Verstappen leading the race while Ocon was 14th.

Infuriated by the pivotal crash, the Red Bull driver said: “I was just trying to do my race and then a back-marker takes a stupid risk. I lost a victory but hopefully in 15 years' time we can laugh about it.

"He has the right to unlap himself but still you have to be careful. He has always been an idiot.”

OCON'S RESPONSE

There are always two sides to a story, though, and Ocon felt Verstappen was the only person in the wrong for his reaction to the incident.

“The rules say you are allowed to unlap yourself if you’re faster,” the 22-year-old said.

“That’s what I did on the second lap. I still saw I had massive pace. I went around the outside of him. That’s the same move I did on Fernando, the same move I did on many other drivers.

POST-RACE SCUFFLE

“But what I’m really surprised is the behaviour of Max coming into the scales. The FIA having to stop him being violent, pushing me and wanting to punch me. That is not professional.

“[But] I’m used to the fights with Max. He’s always been the same. It goes back a few years.”

VERSTAPPEN'S PUNISHMENT

Following their post-race tussle, both drivers were summoned by the race stewards to explain, where it was decided Verstappen must carry out "two days of public service" for "making deliberate physical contact with" Ocon.

F1 Grand Prix of Brazil

While the Dutchman has since copped a flood of criticism for taking the argument beyond the track, his boss has no qualms about his aggressive retaliation.

HORNER REACTS

"Drivers aren't robots and we don't want them to be,” said Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner, per BBC Sport.

"I don't think it got out of hand.

"Through the irresponsible actions of a back-marker we've lost a Grand Prix, and it just wasn't handled at all well by Ocon. It was totally irresponsible to be racing Max.

"Of course we don't condone violence in any way but you have to understand that emotions are running very high.

"We have seen in other sports that there is interaction between players, and it's down to the referee to step in and manage that.

"What I don't know is what words were exchanged, and how Max was antagonised.”

Fair play to Horner for backing up his driver - but was could Verstappen have made his point without getting physical? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment.

Topics:
Christian Horner
Esteban Ocon
Max Verstappen
Force India
Red Bull
Formula 1

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