Max Verstappen has explained precisely why he pushed Esteban Ocon following their heated clash at Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Dutchman was cruising to what would have been a comfortable second victory in a row when he collided with Force India’s Esteban Ocon on lap 44, forcing the Red Bull into a spin, and handing the lead and eventual victory back to Lewis Hamilton.
The 21-year-old superstar was clearly irate with the Frenchman and the stewards deemed Ocon at fault for the crash too by handing him a 10-second stop-and-go penalty, the most severe punishment that can be dished out, bar disqualification.
Verstappen was then seen pushing his rival in the chest as they confronted one another in the weighing room after the race, and has now been hit with a two-day community service punishment by the FIA.
The Red Bull driver spoke to Dutch TV’s Ziggo Sport earlier this week and gave his insight into why the two drivers almost came to blows after the race concluded.
“It is always easy to talk afterwards. I just wanted to look for him and ask what was going on and find out how something like that could happen,” said Verstappen, per The Sun.
“But he immediately answered ‘I was faster than you’ and said it with such a smile on his face.
“I tried my best to be as positive as possible towards my mechanics, but of course their second place doesn’t feel right.
“And then you meet someone like him who doesn’t even apologise for what happened and reacts exactly the other way around.”
“He’s actually no competitor at all in Formula 1. I just focus on the people I have to focus on, and try to beat drivers who have good material as well.”
Verstappen has been in scintillating form during the second half of the season and secured his sixth podium finish in the last eight races, accumulating 234 points in the Drivers Championship Table.
The Dutchman will look to continue his success at the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi with high hopes of leapfrogging both Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Räikkönen to secure third in the final standings.