HomeFormula 1Temperamental talent: Was Max Verstappen right in his behavior...

Temperamental talent: Was Max Verstappen right in his behavior with Ocon?

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Is F1 similar to a boxing encounter?

It’s inconceivable to imagine Formula 1 being barricaded akin to the boxing ring where a bout takes place within a pre-defined periphery. While every track has a certain length, wherein the idea is to battle the world’s fastest drivers within a stipulated number of laps using speed and endurance as the weapons of choice, it’s not really a squarish fighting yard, is it?
It’s also highly imaginative to conceive a track being barricaded by fire. This is, even if the on-track tussles might give writers, opinion-makers, and motor-racing pundits some fodder to fuel their imagination on these lines.
Yet, what Max Verstappen did to Esteban Ocon at the conclusion of the 71-lap Brazilian Grand Prix was nothing short of witnessing a fast driver attempting to knock out a young contemporary as if he were wearing boxing gloves.

Every sport loves a great character

Verstappen is a true fighter (Image: scroll.in)

It endears it to the mind of its follower. It bridges the gap between normality and imagination.
In boxing, Ali’s greatness buoyed the sport. His rasp-cuts and knock out punches served exhilaration to the fan. A sudden racquet burst by a modern Tennis player is nowhere close to the temperamental outbursts of a John McEnroe.
The Australians didn’t just sledge, they backed their lip-service by displaying a streak of outright domination, most felt in the nineties, well into the 2000s.
McGrath yelled, Gillespie made scary faces, Haydos’ imposing physicality didn’t really need words to scare bowlers.
But it was nothing like the Caribbean domination in the sixties and the seventies where a lashing from a Sobers’, a pull from Kanhai or a beamer from Wes Hall, a bouncer from Joel Garner was every bit as thrilling as Sir Viv’s remorseless dismantling of the bowlers.
So utterly dominant were West Indians back then, an emotion fervently captured in ‘Fire in Babylon,’ that one felt the black man was finally avenging years of submission and punishment suffered at the hands of the white supremacists, the heartless colonialists.
But all of it had a sense of occasion or purpose to it. Did it not?
Angry fast bowlers, such as Michael Holding targeting Englishmen at the back of the late Tony Grieg’s ‘infamous Grovel’ comment conveyed a sense of urgency.
Would the West Indians have done their own version of Larwood’s bodyline if Tony Grieg hadn’t uttered the needless?
The fan witnessed the cricketing version of the Israeli hit-squad targeting the Palestinians who helped execute the ‘Black September’ attacks of the 1972 Munich Olympics. It was savage. It was cold-blooded.

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Revenge, after all, isn’t an ugly word

Who was to be blamed? (Image: Sky Sports)

It is well-served if backed by an action that neutralizes an abhorrent conduct initiated in the first place.
But at the Brazilian Grand Prix, what was it exactly that Max was after? Was Ocon really driving to remove Verstappen from the grid?
Was there some revenge plotting happening at Interlagos on race-day?
What exactly had the Racing Point Force India had in mind; were they merely contesting to spoil Red Bull’s race? What happened at the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix was unfortunate and something utterly unexpected.
Wasn’t it?
Ocon crashed into Verstappen, running in the lead, for no fault of the Red Bull driver. Luckily, he’d only spin out and lose bodywork on the car. Yet, thanks to his fighting abilities, clinched second.
His race was, in no way, severely compromised. A flared up Verstappen would’ve been a just sight if he would’ve crashed out. A bout of anger would’ve been understandable had he got physically hurt, his chances of podium severely compromised.
On the other hand, Ocon, who was at fault, in his bid to out-lap himself came to blows erroneously with Max. But he was reprimanded. A 10-second stop-go penalty clearly served him well.
But when the matter should’ve been resolved, it only escalated.

Surely, Max’ chance to win was lost

The incident is a huge loss for Max Verstappen (Image: Givemesport)

It’s a shame. It shouldn’t have happened. His anger was clear and evident. Even before he cut a worked-up figure on the podium, his expletives on the radio for Esteban Ocon came to light.
Wasn’t that enough?
Every now and then does the fan here some choicest words being exchanged over the team radio.
Raikkonen, when congratulated by Coulthard on the Abu Dhabi podium in 2012 said, “Last time you guys were giving me a lot of shit when I didn’t smile enough, maybe this time too.”
Alonso cribs all the time, going as far as calling his car’s engine a ‘GP 2 engine!’
We’ve seen Montoya burst out on the radio. We’ve seen Senna and Schumacher being the legendary aggressors.
But when you go as far as assaulting someone- well, it was an assault in a way, wasn’t it- it says something serious about the sport and the man.

All know that Verstappen is a sure-shot world champion material

Verstappen looked set to win the Brazilian Grand Prix 2018

But even before you become a world champion, there’s a long mile to go before you finally embark on the way to victory.
Max, with 5 wins and 21 podiums, has a lot to prove. But he’s already amassed an army of fans. It’s not hard to understand why.
He’s fast, aggressive and undergoes the same enormity of risk that any world beater would like to challenge himself with.
Schumi and Senna, Fangio and Hamilton have all been unrelenting and non-averse to risks.
But at the same time, they’ve constantly won, without merely resting to shenanigans.

Max is a great talent

What’s more? He’s an original. There is a streak of aggression to him that arrests you just as much as it compels you to think that he’d be even more endearing to his fans with a bit of an attitude correction.
That he went all the way to ‘pay Ocon a visit’ was in itself indicative of just how flared up a character Max is.
First using foul language, later pushing and pulling Ocon saw Max being somewhat of a bizarre ‘Mad Max’, an almost Jim Carrey-like character in Me, Myself, and Irene.
Given the stakes involved in Grand Prix racing, one can understand bursts of temper. But why engage in a physical altercation when what takes place isn’t exactly a catastrophe.
Max’ talent notwithstanding, his fans and backers, and perhaps, even Christian Horner will have to address the fact that a world title wasn’t at stake at Interlagos, was it?

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Dev Tyagi
Dev Tyagi
Dravid believer, admirer of - the square drive, Drew Barrymore, Germany, Finland, Electric Mobility, simplicity and the power of the written word! Absolutely admire contributing to KyroSports

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