Haas F1 Team rookie Nkita Mazepin has already been slapped with a nickname that he would probably like to lose after an eventful—for all the wrong reasons—first race weekend in Formula 1.
Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet and some on social media took a jab at the Russian F1 rookie driver by calling him “Maze-Spin” after a weekend of spins in practice and eventually a spin out on the first lap of Sunday’s F1 Grand Prix. Mazepin did not complete a lap in his debut race.
“It was very simple, said Mazepin, whose father Dmitry is a sponsor of the Haas team this year though Dimitry’s Uralkali Russian potash fertilizer business. “I made a mistake. It was just one of those things. My start had been good, I got into turn one taking the outside line. I was then going through turn two and I was really trying to avoid (teammate) Mick (Schumacher) as he was close and got too much on power—the tires didn’t take it.
“They were cold, I got on the curb, took too much throttle and spun. It was totally my mistake, it’s very disappointing. I’m very sorry for the team as they deserved to do much better than that. Obviously, there’s always positives you can take —the learning experience is obviously there.”
Meanwhile, Schumacher was steady throughout the race in his debut, finishing 16th, one lap down of race-winner Lewis Hamilton.
Schumacher and Mazepin make up the only all-rookie lineup in Formula 1 this season. They are replacing Kevin Magnussen and Roman Grosjean. Haas finished ninth in the F1 Constructors’ Championship in 2020. This season, the team left Bahrain—the first of a record 23 scheduled Formula 1 races this season—10th in the points.
“We had a 50 percent success rate,” Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said. “Mick did a very good job. I think he learned a lot today, and the team learned a lot, the strategy’s working.
“He doesn’t feel great about it, but we put it down as learning.”
“Nikita, obviously, we all saw had a spin on the first lap which compromised his race. He doesn’t feel great about it, but we put it down as learning. He will get back at it again at the next race weekend, for sure he’s learned from this weekend. In general terms, the team worked very well over the whole weekend together with the drivers.
“I think they’ve all started to gel as a team. They’ve been working together, they understand each other. These things always take time. It’s very complex – the whole sport is so complex, and it’s only time that gives you some solutions. You cannot force these things and you cannot buy them. Every day we are together working is a plus.”
Safety Car is out after Mazepin hits the barriers on the opening lap! 💥
He is out of the car and unharmed 👍#BahrainGP 🇧🇭 #F1 pic.twitter.com/Q4MJILmXct
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