Mercedes clinch constructors’ title as Verstappen and Ocon clash on and off the track

Lewis Hamilton was the champion in São Paulo as Mercedes secured the 2018 Constructors’ Championship. Max Verstappen lost the lead after a collision with Esteban Ocon, leading to a confrontation in the paddock after the race.

After being hit by backmarker Ocon, Verstappen lost out on his lead to Lewis Hamilton, who went on to win the race.

Max was undoubtedly fuming, cursing the Force India driver over team radio: “”I hope I can’t find him now in the paddock because that guy has a f****** problem. What a ****.”

Ocon was punished with a 10-second stop-go penalty for the collision.

Video has emerged of a confrontation taking place in the FIA garage after the race, showing the Red Bull repeatedly shoving Ocon. Esteban told reporters: “What I’m really surprised of is the behaviour of Max. Coming into the scales, the FIA having to stop him from being violent, pushing me and wanting to punch me. That is not professional.”

Both Ocon and Verstappen have been called to the stewards over an alleged breach of article 12.1.1.c of the FIA International Sporting Code which prohibits “any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any Competition or to the interests of motor sport generally.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said Ocon was “lucky” to only walk away with a push, following the altercation.

All of this has overshadowed the achievement of Mercedes who have bagged their fifth consecutive Constructors’ Championship title. The team has gone undefeated since the V6 turbo engine was introduced in 2014.

In the latter stages of the race Raikkonen was consistently forced to defend his third place position against Daniel Ricciardo, who just failed to claim his thirtieth podium.

Despite failing to finish in the top three, Ricciardo seemed jubilant talking to reporters after the race. Perhaps not surprising following his string of bad luck since Monaco. The Australian will have been glad to have finished the race at all, having suffered eight DNFs so far this season.

Ocon was not the only backmarker who received a penalty, with Fernando Alonso seeing a five-second time penalty for ignoring blue flags. The McLaren finished his penultimate race in Formula 1 in P16.

The final race of the 2018 calendar is Abu Dhabi in two weeks time. Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo will race for the final time with Ferrari and Red Bull respectively. Raikkonen moves to Sauber from 2019 and Ricciardo to Renault. Fernando Alonso will race his final grand prix in Formula 1. The Spaniard confirmed this week he will race for McLaren at the Indy500 in May.

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