Max Verstappen insists he does not regret pushing Esteban Ocon after the Brazilian Grand Prix despite receiving a public service punishment from the FIA.
The two drivers collided at Interlagos as Ocon tried to unlap himself, damaging both cars and relegating Verstappen from the lead to second place. After the race, Verstappen approached the Force India driver in the FIA garage and after an exchange of words pushed Ocon on a number of occasions — for which he was summoned to the stewards — but stands by his actions.
“I was after an apology and I got a bit of a different response,” Verstappen said. “We are all emotional — just at the time that I had lost a victory, so I think from my side I was really calm. It could have been much worse. I think pushing, in any sport, it happens. I actually saw it a few days ago in football again. So from my side, I thought it was quite a calm response.
“What do you expect me to do, shake his hand, like, ‘Thank you very much’ for being second instead of first? I think it’s quite a normal response.
“OK, I got my two days with the FIA, which we will find out what we’re going to do but no, from my side… You guys don’t really hear what’s actually being said at the scales. You just see me pushing. But if you understand the whole conversation, I think it’s a bit different.”
Despite suggesting he was unhappy with Ocon’s comments after the race in Brazil, Verstappen declined to reveal what was said between the two drivers.
“(Ocon said) something I didn’t expect to hear. No, it doesn’t matter what it was at the end of the day, because it clearly pissed me off instead of let’s say, straight away an apology but maybe after the race … with the adrenaline … it’s still in your body, you maybe don’t get the right answer but like I said, we’re not robots. We have emotions.”
For his part, Ocon believes the Red Bull drivers would like to retract his actions if he could, but wants to put the episode behind him.
“I think we have to move forward in what happened,” Ocon said. “We can’t change the past. I’m sure, even if Max said the opposite, he would like to come back on what he did after the race. It’s done, we can’t change it and now we have to move forward.”