Date published: November 14 2018
Although Max Verstappen has been slapped with a two-day public service order for getting physical with Esteban Ocon in Brazil, Christian Horner says he doesn’t feel it “got out of hand.”
Verstappen was robbed of the Brazilian Grand Prix win when Ocon crashed into him while trying to unlap himself.
Verstappen had taken the lead off Lewis Hamilton a few laps earlier, however, Ocon paid no mind to that and tried to unlap himself.
He went around the outside of Turn 1, getting the inside line into 2 only for the two to collide.
Ocon was penalised with a stop-go penalty while Verstappen, who brought his broken RB14 home, had to settle for second.
The livid Dutchman sought out Ocon in the weighing room and shoved him three times before the FIA intervened.
“I don’t think it got out of hand,” said Horner.
“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.
“Of course we don’t condone violence in any way but you have to understand that emotions are running very high.
“Drivers aren’t robots at the end of the day and nor should they be. One can understand emotions in the heat of the moment.
“Of course, there’s a human reaction in these competitive animals that are Formula 1 drivers.”
Horner reckons his driver was further “antagonised” by something Ocon 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.
“What I don’t know is what words were exchanged, and how Max was antagonised.”
Verstappen has subsequently revealed that Ocon’s “smile” is what tipped him over the edge.