Red Bull team principal Christian Horner may have defended Max Verstappen’s wild outburst by declaring: “we don’t want robots in Formula One,” but Jacques Villeneuve has certainly gone in the other direction with regards to Esteban Ocon.
Verstappen, 21, has been sentenced to two days of community service by F1’s sporting federation, the FIA, after he shoved Force India’s Ocon in the chest three times following Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
The flashpoint came after Ocon crashed into Verstappen as he attempted to unlap himself and cost the Dutchman an almost certain victory at the Interlagos circuit.
Verstappen’s community service could be centred around the FIA’s Action for Road Safety campaign, and must be completed by April of next year.
The young Dutchman attempted to draw a line under the incident by shaking Ocon’s hand in full view of the paddock following their summons to the stewards on Sunday evening.
And, while Horner did not condone the use of violence, he did not believe his star driver had overstepped the mark either.
“Drivers aren’t robots and we don’t want them to be,” Horner said.
“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. I don’t think it got out of hand.
“What I don’t know is what words were exchanged, and how Max was antagonised. Of course we don’t condone violence in any way but you have to understand that emotions are running very high.
“Through the irresponsible actions of a backmarker 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.”
However, former F1 champion Villeneuve, who is certainly not scared to share his often controversial opinions, has gone in hard on Ocon for his involvement in the drama.
"Ocon is an embarrassment," the Canadian told Motorsport.com.
"That was ridiculous. And the worst bit is everyone has seen what happened, and on the radio not even a ‘sorry guys, I was wrong.’ It’s good to accept you’re wrong.
"You can unlap yourself, but do it properly. You’re not allowed to put the leader at risk at all. You don’t do something that loses time for the other driver, and is taking a risk.
"Overtaking on the straight and you’re in front is fine. But that looked like it was a battle for the lead.
"It shows he has no racecraft, zero racecraft whatsoever.
"All the incidents in the last two years where maybe it’s his fault, maybe it’s not, you can kind of think that maybe he was in the wrong, because he hasn’t read the race properly.
"And he never learns, because it’s never his fault, ever."