Nikita Mazepin Gives His Rookie F1 Season an Optimistic Score ‘For Sticking Through It’

Published 12/27/2021, 11:59 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Brazilian Grand Prix – Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil – November 11, 2021 Haas’ Nikita Mazepin during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES


The Haas F1 team went with a new driver line-up of Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher for the 2021 F1 season. Schumacher is the 2020 GP2 champion while Mazepin finished 5th in the same feeder series. The F1 community highly scrutinized the promotion of the young Russian to the F1 cockpit.

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Mazepin had a strong but not exceptional junior career behind him. It was never going to be a piece of cake for both the rookies to enter a scene dominated by seasoned drivers. Haas ended up at the last of the constructors’ standings with no points.

Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 4, 2021 Haas’ Nikita Mazepin REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

Recently, Nikita Mazepin analyzed his rookie season with the team and discussed various highs and lows throughout the season.

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Nikita Mazepin rates himself out of 5

The Haas F1 team had the slowest car in the 2021 season. Naturally, it would not be any easier for the two rookies going into the high-tension season. Mazepin struggled at the back of the grid, most of the time fighting solely against teammate Mick Schumacher.

More recently, in an interview reported by Autosport.com, Mazepin reflected on his first season. The Russian believes that he did a good job at clinging on to the scene after multiple hardships and rates himself highly for that.

“I never think that you should get a five because five is excellence [as in Russian school marks are from 2 to 5], and I don’t know what excellence is. Today it might be excellent but tomorrow I realize I can do something more,” said the 23-year-old.

“So four is the maximum I can give myself. So I guess four for sticking through it because the times were really tough this year at certain points. Probably a three for adaptation, because that’s hasn’t been my strong point and I keep improving on it,” added Mazepin.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Haas’ Nikita Mazepin during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

A learning curve for Mazepin

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Mazepin had a tough rookie season, but it was surely a learning experience for the young driver. He was involved in a few crashes as well, which exposed the lack of experience he had coming into the big stage. Notably, Mazepin was the only driver on the grid who did not make it into Q2 the entire season.

“Then I also made some mistakes like in the Bahrain race and some other events when I didn’t feel like I performed well or I tried too hard and then ultimately lost my lap time like in Brazil, when I believe that we had a chance out-qualifying Williams or going into Q2,” said the Haas driver.

“That was definitely the low moments, but the high moments is a… many races. I had a good race in Silverstone, in Brazil and Mexico,” he concluded.

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With new regulations in place, we can expect a minor turnaround in the power dynamics. Hopefully, the Haas team can make a comeback after a disastrous season in 2021.

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Rituraj Tripathi

273 articles

Rituraj Tripathi is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. A true lover of speed, he is big fan of Lewis Hamilton and finds a future world champion in Lando Norris. Rituraj eagerly looks forward to the paddock moving to the Circuit de Monaco, and he finds Portier corner as the most exciting part of the track.

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