Bahrain GP: Nikita Mazepin Justifies Cutting Off Vettel and Other F1 Drivers in Q1

Published 03/28/2021, 3:00 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Haas’ Nikita Mazepin during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS


Nikita Mazepin had a forgettable qualifying session ahead of his maiden F1 race. The Russian driver ended his first-ever quali dead last, but that was not before he managed to sabotage the final hot lap of a few other drivers, including Sebastian Vettel. Mazepin was given a lot of flak on social media for not obeying the ‘gentleman’s agreement.’ However, the Haas driver defended his actions stating he was not aware of any such sportsmanship code.

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What exactly did Nikita do to get the flak, you ask?

Well, he basically overtook a host of other cars who were ready to start a flying lap on the back straight in the dying moments of Q1. But after he did so, it was almost as if karma struck. Nikita spun into turn 1, but in doing so, he also botched everyone else’s session by bringing out yellow flags.

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Formula One F1. Bahrain Grand Prix. Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain. Haas’ Nikita Mazepin in action during practice REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Speaking post-qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix, he diverted part of the blame onto his team.

Nikita Mazepin states his reason for his actions

He said, “If you would have noticed, I was held for a long time on the weighbridge, so I lost loads of time. My team told me there is not enough time to cross the start finish line if I don’t go now.

“So I’m obviously the team’s driver, I’m doing as instructed and the instructions were to push – I pushed. And to be very honest, I’ve never heard about this agreement before, however I will take notice from now on.”

SCARPERIA, ITALY: Haas’ Nikita Mazepin is in doubt for 2021 Formula 1(Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Nevertheless, Mazepin wasn’t the only Haas driver who had a forgettable debut. His teammate Mick Schumacher didn’t manage to fare a whole lot better.

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Schumacher Jr. will be starting his first F1 race alongside Mazepin at the back of the grid in P19. However, the man who stole the show on Saturday i.e. Max Verstappen expects Mick to do well and learn a lot through the course of the season.

As things stand, though, it looks like Haas may not be opening their points tally anytime soon.

So, the first race will be all about acclimatizing to F1 for their two rookie drivers. Which one of them will come out on top? We shall soon find out.

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Ronan Carvalho

1015 articles

Ronan Carvalho is senior F1 author for Essentiallysports. Ronan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from St. Xavier's College.

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