Villeneuve: Ocon an "embarrassment" for Verstappen clash
Ex-Formula 1 champion Jacques Villeneuve has called Esteban Ocon an “embarrassment” after the Frenchman’s controversial collision with Max Verstappen in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Ocon received a 10-second stop-and-go penalty after the clash at the Senna S with Verstappen while he was trying to unlap himself from the race leader.
Villeneuve also cited past incidents involving the Force India driver, and suggested that he lacks racecraft.
“Ocon is an embarrassment,” he told Motorsport.com. “That was ridiculous. And the worst bit is everyone has seen what happened, and on the radio not even a ‘sorry guys, I was wrong.’ It’s good to accept you’re wrong.
“You can unlap yourself, but do it properly. You’re not allowed to put the leader at risk at all. You don’t do something that loses time for the other driver, and is taking a risk.
"Overtaking on the straight and you’re in front is fine. But that looked like it was a battle for the lead.
“But also it shows he has no racecraft, zero racecraft whatsoever. All the incidents in the last two years where maybe it’s his fault, maybe it’s not, you can kind of think that maybe he was in the wrong, because he hasn’t read the race properly.
"And he never learns, because it’s never his fault, ever.”
Relive the entire saga:
Villeneuve said he had some sympathy for Verstappen, who was called to the stewards after pushing Ocon in the FIA garage after the race.
The Canadian added: “I thought he [Verstappen] was very restrained in his reaction. He didn’t even punch him!
"What do we want to see? We want to emotion, we want to see these gladiators. It was good to see that. And the other one is taller than him anyway!
“Max was amazing, and his overtaking early on without DRS, aggressive, clean. It’s a different Max. It looks like after Monaco he took [Daniel] Ricciardo’s talent, or what was good in Ricciardo as well.
"You already had the Max, and he got rid of what was nasty and took what was good from Ricciardo, and has really made a step. In the last few races he’s been very impressive.”
Force India defends Ocon
Force India team principal Otmar Szafnauer resolutely defended his driver, stressing that new tyres had given him pace and that he’s asked if he could pass Verstappen.
“Esteban was trying to unlap himself because at that point in the race he’s got a tyre advantage,” Szafnauer told Motorsport.com.
“Max is probably going five, six or seven slow laps to bring his tyres in, we can’t afford to be held up by anybody even though it’s the race leader. We have another race to run. We can’t afford to lose even a half a second a lap for six laps.
“So he asked, ‘Can I unlap myself?’ ‘Yeah, unlap yourself’ [came the reply]. 'You’ve got a tyre advantage, you’re faster'.
"Max knew he was there, because they went side-by-side into Turn 1. It didn’t happen in Turn 1, so he knows he’s there. Where else is he going to go if he takes the apex?”
Race leader Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14 crashes whilst lapping Esteban Ocon, Racing Point Force India VJM11
Photo by: Jerry Andre / Sutton Images
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