Max Verstappen threatened to ‘punch’ Esteban Ocon after Brazil Grand Prix crash

Max Verstappen was accused of trying to punch French rival Esteban Ocon after a controversial clash at Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix. (Screenshot: Canal+)
Updated 12 November 2018

Max Verstappen threatened to ‘punch’ Esteban Ocon after Brazil Grand Prix crash

SAO PAULO: Max Verstappen was accused of trying to punch French rival Esteban Ocon after a controversial clash at Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix which was won by five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
Red Bull star Verstappen was seen on TV pushing Force India’s Ocon three times and accused of threatening to hit him, after the pair had collided on track.
The collision cost Verstappen the race and he had to settle for second place.
The livid Dutchman, 21, had earlier said he did not see the Frenchman in the paddock after the race, but made no effort to avoid him in the drivers’ weighing room where he walked straight at him.
“We were at the scales room,” said Ocon. “He wanted to punch me. He pushed me and he was wanting to be violent. It was not professional.”
Ocon added that his rivalry with Verstappen “goes back a few years” and said he “has always been the same. I’m used to the fights with Max. He’s always been the same. It goes back a few years.”
Verstappen swore so much on team radio that his comments bleeped out after he described him as an “idiot.”
Ocon was given a 10-second stop-go penalty by the race stewards for causing the collision.
A video clip of the post-race incident went viral soon afterwards but Verstappen said he had no regrets.

Max Verstappen and Sebastian Ocon’s coming-together at the Brazilian Grand Prix has clearly been brewing for a while after years of simmering tensions. Given both could well be challenging for the world championship in the future, it is intriguing how it will play out. Here Arab News looks at other times there was no love lost between sport stars.

Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Strauss
Absolute chalk and cheese characters. Pietersen was an abrasive, brash and fiery cricketer. Strauss, almost universally respected in the game, the complete opposite. And the pair’s relationship was strained considerably when Pietersen sent disparaging texts to South African players (and England’s opponents) about Strauss. Awkward.

Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy
Ireland captain Keane lost the plot and stormed out of his country’s 2002 World Cup preparations when he criticized coach McCarthy’s approach and accused him of being a liar. McCarthy questioned Keane over a newspaper interview he had given, and the two started a long-running feud. The incident was even turned into a stage play.

Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier
Another duo who were polar opposites, albeit both supremely talented in their own ways. While Ali won two of their three epic bouts, their rivalry did prompt two of the best insults in sport, with Ali saying his Manila bout with “the gorilla” Frazier would be a “chilla, and a killa, and a thriller,” and Frazier’s more understated response: “If he was thirsty in the desert, I’d drive right by.” Ouch.

Simona Halep positive despite Dubai defeat by Belinda Bencic

Updated 21 February 2019

Simona Halep positive despite Dubai defeat by Belinda Bencic

  • Former world No.1 blames three-set loss on tiredness after nine matches in 13 days.
  • Halep has high hopes for the rest of 2019, saying her game is in good shape.

LONDON: Simona Halep is still certain a good year lies in store for her despite losing to Belinda Bencic in the Dubai quarterfinals.
The Romanian former world No. 1 was the favorite to win her second title in the emirate but ran out of steam as her Swiss opponent ran out 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 winner.
It was Halep’s ninth match in just 13 days and she admitted tiredness had caught up with her.
“It was really difficult physically. I was tired,” the world No. 2 said.

Bencic came from a set down to beat the favorite in the last-eight encounter in Dubai. (AFP) 

“After the second set, I felt like I’m getting cramping a little bit. It’s normal. I was sweating a lot.”
While, her fatigue was clear for all to see, Halep was not using it as an excuse, admitting Bencic, who has now beaten her in two of their three matches, was the deserved winner.
“Yeah, she played well. She played very well. In the end, she was a little bit stronger,” the Romanian said.
Having lost in the Qatar final last weekend and failed to make the last-four in Dubai you might think Halep would be disappointed with her Middle East stint. She was, however, far from glum and revealed she is looking forward to landing more titles to add to her collection during the rest of the year.

Cheerio from Halep after her defeat to the Swiss. (AFP) 

“I think were three good weeks. Tough weeks. A lot of tension, a lot of pressure. Also the Fed Cup,” she said.
“I take only positive things. I had great matches. My level is good. Physically also I’m good. But day by day I had to play, so is not easy.
“I’m confident for the next tournaments.”