Motorsport: Verstappen threatens to 'punch' Ocon as Hamilton wins Brazilian GP

Sports Monday 12/November/2018 14:02 PM
By: Times News Service
Motorsport: Verstappen threatens to 'punch' Ocon as Hamilton wins Brazilian GP

SAO PAULO, Brazil: Dutch driver Max Verstappen was accused of trying to punch French rival Esteban Ocon after a controversial clash at the Brazilian Grand Prix which was won by five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton on Sunday.
Red Bull star Verstappen was seen on TV pushing Force India's Ocon three times and accused of threatening to hit him, after the pair had collided on track.
The collision on lap 44 of the 71-lap race at Interlagos' famed Senna S curves cost Verstappen the race and he had to settle for second place.
The livid Dutchman, 21, had earlier said he did not see the Frenchman in the paddock after the race, but made no effort to avoid him in the drivers' weighing room where he walked straight at him.
"We were at the scales room," said Ocon. "He wanted to punch me. He pushed me and he was wanting to be violent. It was not professional."
Ocon added that his rivalry with Verstappen "goes back a few years" and said he "has always been the same".
"I was behind Max for two laps," Ocon told Sky Sports. "On the first lap, I was a lot faster and, on the second lap, I was a lot faster. The rules say you are allowed to un-lap yourself so that's what I did.
"I'm used to the fights with Max. He's always been the same. It goes back a few years."
Verstappen swore so much on team radio that his comments bleeped out after he described him as an "idiot".
Ocon was given a 10-second stop-go penalty by the race stewards for causing the collision.
"I hope I cannot find him now in the paddock," said a livid Verstappen. "I was taken out by an idiot."
Meanwhile, 33-year-old Hamilton took advantage of the collision that cost Verstappen the lead in the closing stages to regain the initiative and then hang on with worn tyres as the Red Bull came home second.
His win allowed Mercedes to claim a fifth successive constructors title.
Kimi Raikkonen finished third on his 150th start for Ferrari ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull, Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes and Sebastian Vettel who came home sixth for Ferrari.
The result ended Ferrari's hopes of stopping Mercedes' title triumph, brought Hamilton his tenth win of the year and 72nd of his career. It was also the first time he had won a late-season race after winning the drivers' title.
"It was an honour to drive for them (Mercedes) today," said Hamilton.
Charles Leclerc finished seventh for Sauber ahead of the two Haas cars driven by Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen with Sergio Perez 10th for Force India.
'Oozing confidence'
The race began in dry and sunny conditions, but with rain forecast. Ferrari were on the harder 'soft' tyres with the rest on super-softs, which enabled Bottas to take advantage when the lights went out.
The Finn, from third, swept past Vettel to take second behind Hamilton, giving Mercedes an early one-two, but with Verstappen preparing a storm from fifth and Ricciardo from 11th.
The two Red Bulls climbed rapidly and by lap 10 Verstappen, having passed Bottas, was second and Ricciardo sixth. Hamilton, in front, pulled clear by 1.9 seconds before the Dutchman, oozing confidence, began trimming that lead.
Mercedes, unexpectedly, were the first to blink when Bottas pitted after 18 laps and Hamilton after 19, re-joining ninth and seventh respectively on mediums, handing Verstappen the lead.
Vettel pitted after 28 laps and was clearly struggling. Ferrari, their title dream almost over, asked him to pull over and let the faster Raikkonen, on fresh tyres, go by.
Eight laps later, Verstappen pitted from the lead, re-joining third on softs behind team-mate Ricciardo and Hamilton. His grip and pace remained impressive and he soon breezing past the Englishman on the straight.
When Ricciardo pitted, re-joining sixth, the Dutchman was back in the lead before, on lap 44 -– and soon after Hamilton asked "is there anything we can do?" –- he spun after colliding with Ocon.
Verstappen recovered, but Hamilton led again.
All this left Hamilton 4.2 seconds ahead of Verstappen, whose car suffered a damaged floor, while Bottas and Vettel made second stops to set up a slithering conclusion with the Englishman resisting to the flag.