Esteban Ocon has sparred with Max Verstappen before – both on and off the track
Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon came to blows during qualifying for the Las Vegas Grand Prix, calling each other ‘a joke’ and a ‘stupid idiot’.
In Saturday’s qualifying, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc secured pole position at the brand new street circuit, ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz and Verstappen.
The Red Bull driver will line up on the front row however, with Sainz taking a controversial 10-place grid penalty after his car was damaged by a manhole in Friday practice.
It was a day to forget for Ocon however, who was knocked out of Q1 and finished 17th, and top add insult to injury, his Alpine teammate Pierre Gasly is starting in fourth.
But the nature of Ocon’s elimination came in controversial circumstances. As he started his final, crucial lap, the Frenchman was forced to overtake several cars including Verstappen in an effort to keep the minimum delta requirements.
But the three-time champion, himself gearing up for a final lap, wasn’t happy about Ocon’s move, saying over the radio: ‘What the f**k is that Alpine doing? Stupid idiot’.
Deciding to ‘enact revenge’ as it were, the Red Bull driver decided to dive bomb the Alpine going into Turn 1, with Ocon forced to swerve in order to avoid a collision, scuppering his final attempt and ending his qualifying.
Esteban Ocon and Max Verstappen were NOT happy at the end of Q1 ðð»
A busy end to the first part of qualifying ð pic.twitter.com/veETEJUZnl
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) November 18, 2023
Unsurprisingly, Ocon was furious, saying over the radio: ‘That’s a joke honestly, Verstappen diving into one like crazy.’
‘The difference between me and him [Verstappen] is that I have to do that lap because I had traffic in that first lap and if I don’t do the second one, I’m out,’ the 27-year-old said afterward.
‘He has plenty of pace, so he can afford not to do his second lap. But we were not respecting the delta.
Ocon is 12th in the standings with two races to go (Photo: Getty)
‘So it couldn’t happen again. I had no choice, I had to go, so yeah, that was it. The difference between me and Max is he’s third, and I’m 17th.’
Verstappen meanwhile had no sympathy whatsoever for his opponent, saying: ‘Everyone was making a gap, and suddenly he [Ocon] came in between two cars like a fool, completely drifting and almost hitting the back of my car in Turn 14.
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‘So I leave a gap to the others and then he …read more