Max Verstappen has been denied a famous victory in Brazil after a tangle with backmarker Esteban Ocon cost him a late lead.

Verstappen was surging clear of Lewis Hamilton when he and the Force India collided. It allowed Hamilton to pass Verstappen and win the race.

The young Dutchman was furious, calling Ocon a "f***ing idiot" over the radio and telling his team: "I hope I can't find him now in the paddock because that guy has a f***ing problem."

Verstappen doubled down, branding Ocon an "idiot" once more in his post-race interview and shoving him when they crossed paths. He later called Ocon a "p****".

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Despite being given a 10-second penalty by stewards Ocon defended his move, saying he had fresh tyres and felt capable of making the pass.

"The rules say you are allowed to unlap yourself," Ocon said.

"What I am really surprised about is the behaviour of Max coming into the scales.

"The FIA having to stop him from being violent, pushing me and wanted me to punch me — that is not professional.

"I am used to the fights with Max. It has been the same. It goes back a few years, so no (I won't clear the air with him)."

But Red Bull boss Christian Horner backed his driver. "I think Max has been quite restrained to be honest," he said. "It's cost him a grand prix victory. He's driven his heart out with a damaged car.

"Esteban was lucky to get away with a push, to be honest with you. Emotions are running high.

"I told him, 'Just get yourself under control' on the cool-down lap because he's lost a victory through no fault of his own today and it's hugely frustrating for him and for the team."

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Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, left, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, second from right, and Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, right, celebrate at the podium. Photo / AP
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, left, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, second from right, and Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, right, celebrate at the podium. Photo / AP

Horner said Ocon had no right to be challenging the race leader. "What on earth Ocon was thinking about there just beggar's belief," Horner said.

"It's clear that as a lapped car you shouldn't interfere with the leader.

"Why on earth is he racing the leader? He's a lap down. He doesn't have the pace.

"He's chucked the car up the inside there. It just makes absolutely no sense at all."

Both drivers were called to face the stewards after completing their media obligations.

Verstappen said he did not regret his actions. "I'm a winner," he said. "To get taken out like that and get a stupid response from his side as well ... I was not happy about that."

Hamilton's victory helped his Mercedes team to take the constructors' title. He was reluctant to comment on Verstappen's misfortune but said: "I saw it happen. I wasn't surprised by it. I saw them racing and they weren't racing for the same position."

Hamilton, who had already sealed his fifth Formula One title, started from pole position and finished less than two seconds ahead of Verstappen. Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen completed the podium at Interlagos.

Daniel Ricciardo fought back from a grid penalty to finish fourth ahead of Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas. Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel finished sixth.