F1 race director labels Ocon move ‘wholly unacceptable’

Mat Coch

Tuesday 13th November, 2018 - 7:01am

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Max Verstappen leads Esteban Ocon

Formula 1 race director Charlie Whiting has labelled Esteban Ocon’s attempt to unlap himself in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix as “wholly unacceptable”.

Running a lap down in 16th place at the time, Ocon attempted to pass race leader Max Verstappen around the outside of Turn 1.

Unable to complete the move he attempted to fight Verstappen for the apex of Turn 2 where the pair made contact and spun.

It allowed Lewis Hamilton through into a lead which he converted into victory while Verstappen suffered a broken floor and had to settle for second.

Ocon was handed a 10 second stop-go penalty and received three penalty points on his license as a result of the incident.

Following the race Whiting explained that while Ocon had every right to pass the leading Red Bull it was his responsibility to do it safely.

“He’s absolutely allowed to unlap himself,” Whiting explained.

“That’s clear, it’s happened many times in the past.

“However, you would expect it to be done safely. More to the point it should be done cleanly and absolutely without fighting.

“He shouldn’t be fighting to get past. If he’s got the pace then normally one would expect Red Bull to say ‘Ocon’s got the pace, just let him through’, that sort of thing.

“But it seemed that he just went for it and it was a bit unfortunate that he decided to fight for it which was wholly unacceptable.

“I don’t think it makes any difference that he was a leader. It makes it worse in a lot of people’s eyes, but as far as the stewards are concerned that doesn’t matter.”

Following the race Verstappen and Ocon had a physical altercation, for which the Dutchman was ordered to two days of public service as recompense by the stewards.

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