FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting has played down concerns over Formula 1 driver behaviour despite a clash-filled Brazilian Grand Prix including the controversial incidents between Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon.

The FIA Stewards were kept busy at Interlagos with a number of high-profile incidents, starting with qualifying flashpoints between Sergey Sirotkin and Lewis Hamilton in Q2 followed by Sebastian Vettel breaking the weighbridge in Q3.

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Further clashes followed when Ocon tangled with race leader Verstappen trying to unlap himself, which sent both drivers into a spin, leading to the Dutch driver aggressively confronting his rival having lost out on the race win to Lewis Hamilton.

With headline-grabbing outbursts from a number of drivers it saw F1 driver standards called into question but Whiting has refuted it as an issue which needs dealing with.

“I don’t draw that conclusion,” Whiting said responding to poor F1 driver behaviour. “I think what annoyed Sebastian [in qualifying] obviously was being stopped.

“Ferrari did something slightly unusual, they went out on one type of tyre to explore the track, came in, and there’s a risk, there will always be a risk that you’re going to be stopped. They know that and they should factor that in.

“It’s what I’m always telling the teams, it’s something that they say if we do this, this is how long it will take, and we might get stopped so we have to add a minute.

“I don’t think they’re at all linked, I don’t think there’s an ‘outbreak of violence’ because of those incidents.”

Whiting confirmed all drivers have been reminded of their responsibility as F1 drivers representing the sport and as role models to fans and young drivers and backed the FIA Stewards’ calls on each incident.

Vettel was slapped with a 25,000 fine plus a reprimand for his weighbridge incident while Ocon served a 10-second stop/go penalty after being judged the guilty party in the clash with Verstappen. The Dutch driver has been handed a two-day public service punishment for pushing and confronting Ocon after the race. No investigation was launched on the Sirotkin-Hamilton Q2 incident.

“I think the stewards have made it clear,” Whiting said. “Let’s be realistic, it’s happened a number of times in the past, we all know that.

“In terms of the actual incident [between Verstappen and Ocon post-race], it didn’t look that serious, but any physical contact I don’t think can be condoned.”

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