Image Credit [GrandPrix 247]
Lewis Hamilton clinched his tenth win of the series on Sunday and secured the Constructor’s Championship for Mercedes in Brazil.
The headlines have, however, been occupied with the collision between Ferrari’s Verstappen and Force India’s Ocon. Verstappen was in first place at the time and looked likely to seal his third win of the campaign; before, Ocon, who had already been lapped, took an ambitious decision to overtake Verstappen on lap 44. This, in turn, led to both spinning out. Verstappen should take achievement in rescuing second place on the podium, but for the Dutchman, this race will have no other memory than one which was taken away from him. Verstappen’s frustration carried on after the race, as he confronted Ocon in the paddocks where he has been seen to push Ocon three times in their encounter. This comes after he let fly, during the race, that “I hope I don’t find him in the paddocks,” on Ferrari’s radio.
Hamilton did speak to Verstappen in the green room before the podium stating that Ocon does have a right to unlap himself; to which Verstappen replied, “But you can’t crash!” Later that day when speaking to the media Verstappen frustratedly said “He has the right to unlap himself, but still you have to be careful. He has always been an idiot.”
Ocon’s sudden flash of speed was a result of a tire change he had made in the pits moments before. The reality is that his tyres would have worn down and would have most probably been re-lapped not long after. Not only would Ocon have been re-lapped, but he also stood ten seconds behind a point finish – there was not much to gain from this overtaking. Former Renault driver, Jolyon Palmer, alludes Ocon’s crash to being down to the previous history between the two from Formula 3. He, further, states that Ocon would not have tried this on Hamilton or Vettel.
Whether Ocon should have or shouldn’t have overtaken Verstappen aside, Verstappen has been asked to complete two days of ‘public service’ for his confrontation with Ocon, what that necessarily entails is not certain. Verstappen will feel harshly treated, for an incident, he never wanted or caused; but a sportsman cannot deal with their perceived injustices through pushing and accosting their fellow sportsman.
Verstappen will feel aggrieved, but he has had a fantastic season notching up two wins with one race still to go. He is showing all the right signs to mount a championship challenge next year. The Formula 1 campaign comes to a close next weekend, and while most awards are already tied up, it will be an interesting affair and a chance for Verstappen to exhibit the potential he has.