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Max Verstappen‘s racing career has been nothing short of a big surprise. The Dutchman was strapped into an F1 car directly after F3. Verstappen made his F1 debut at the age of just 17 years. Many years later, today we realize the special talent that he is. However, there was one guy who beat Verstappen earlier in their career and is now on the grid alongside him. It’s Esteban Ocon, and he received a special Ferrari gift for the same. What was it? 

Esteban Ocon and Max Verstappen haven’t had the best relationship in F1. A flashback to the 2018 Brazilian GP gives a quick reminder of what it is like. While Max Verstappen is now a 3X world champion, Esteban Ocon is still struggling with a mid-field team with the hopes of making it to a top team and challenging for the title one day. 

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But it wasn’t always like this. In 2014, Esteban Ocon was the one who came out on top and beat Max Verstappen. It all goes back to the Formula 3 days when Ocon was driving with Prema. The Frenchman took 9 wins and 21 podiums and beat Tom Blomqvist and Max Verstappen to the championship. The now 3X F1 World champion DNFs were what stopped him from winning the title. 

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Esteban Ocon in a recent interview with Formula 1 revealed how he received a special Ferrari gift for winning the F3. Being a massive Schumacher fan, it was a dream that became a reality for him. Esteban Ocon said, “It was also very special that when I had my first Formula 1 test, it was in a Ferrari at Fiorano, as a prize for winning the 2014 Formula 3 title. It’s obviously a dream come true, especially when you are young, and it’s a beautiful memory for me.”

Esteban Ocon, over the years, has shown glimpses of pace, with the 2023 Monaco GP being a very good recent example of it. But that doesn’t take away from the blips that he has every now and then. Again, the 2018 Brazilian GP. But what was it all about?

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Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon’s heated fight at the 2018 Brazilian GP. 

It’s a fairly common sight to see the race leaders come together. But have you ever heard about a leader and a lapped car crashing? Well, the 2018 Verstappen and Ocon incident is exactly about that. Ocon was a lap down on Verstappen but on fresher, softer rubber. The Frenchman decided to unlap himself into the first corner as Max led the race. Unfortunately, the two came together, and it all blew up into an ugly fight.

via Imago

After Verstappen spun around, the Dutchman first showed some inappropriate gestures to Ocon. It was then followed by a rant over the radio as he lost the lead. However, when the two went face to face, a lot of pushing, shoving, and use of harsh words could be seen on the screen. The disappointment and anger were clearly visible on Max Verstappen’s face. 

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Written by

Pranay Bhagi

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"More powerful than fear itself is the will to win" I’m Pranay, 24, and a huge petrol-head. Anything with a wheel and an engine fascinates me. Dedicatedly following F1 for over a decade now and it all started during the Sebastian Vettel domination era.
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Edited by

Akash Pandhare