Formula 1's director of motorsports Ross Brawn believes that Red Bull's Max Verstappen needs to learn to channel his emotions and avoid similar outbursts to Brazil.
The Dutchman sought out Esteban Ocon after the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday following their on-track collision. Ocon was attempting to un-lap himself from the race leader, however contact was made as they went side by side through turns 1 and 2.
Verstappen was spun and lost his lead to Lewis Hamilton, who would eventually go on to win the race. In the weighing room, Verstappen questioned the Frenchman before pushing him several times. The former Toro Rosso racer was investigated and handed two days of public service order.
"The Dutchman’s push in the closing stages was not enough to retake the lead and after that, Max vented his anger in parc ferme, making physical contact with Ocon,” said Brawn. “It was not an edifying sight and though understandable it was of course not justifiable.
“The incident with Ocon was a cruel moment, but in the aftermath Max showed [that] he has made enormous progress in his career [but he] is still not able to manage his emotions in these situations, an essential next step.
“Having said that, one mustn’t forget he is still very young and while his conduct wasn’t justifiable we can all understand the frustration he felt after the incident and again at the end of the race, the outcome of which should not cancel out what was an amazing performance from the Dutchman.
“After all, it’s not every day you drive past two Ferraris and two Mercedes. I’m sure Max will learn from what happened and that everything that happened, including the penalty he was given, will contribute to his development as a driver and mainly as a man.”
However Brawn added that Ocon should have gone about un-lapping himself differently: "It has to be said there was no reason for him to take on Verstappen as though he was fighting for his first win in Formula 1.
“He deserved the 10-second stop and go penalty he was given in the race. Drivers must not forget they are role models for the fans and for youngsters who want to follow in their footsteps. I don't think that Ocon, when he attacked Max during the race, was simply thinking of trying to get in the points.
“I believe it was more the case that he was caught up in the moment and didn’t think it through, maybe fighting to the death with the race leader might not have been the best plan, even when that driver is one with whom you had some spirited fights in the lower formulae. Overall, Sunday was a lesson for both Verstappen and Ocon, one they won’t forget in a hurry. It’s just another part of their learning curve.”
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