The Russian rookie stood out in the wrong way for his first Grand Prix this weekend in Bahrain and some observers believe he does not have the level to shine in Formula 1 …
This is particularly the case of Mika Salo, veteran of 110 Grands Prix (with Tyrrell, Ferrari and Arrows), also adviser to SMP Racing proteges such as Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin.
The former Finnish driver, who regularly serves as a steward with the FIA, was harsh in his criticism of Nikita Mazepin whose F1 debut at Sakhir was disastrous.
After hampering the best in Q1 before causing a yellow flag following a spin in the first corner, the rookie lost control of his Haas on the first lap of the Grand Prix, which resulted in a neutralization by the safety car.
“This guy has nothing to do here” Salo told the Danish newspaper Extra Bladet who has already baptized the Russian pilot “Maze-spin” (spin means head-to-tail in English).
But Mazepin was not the only one to be trapped when accelerating on cold tires, his teammate Mick Schumacher surviving the same mishap at the time of the restart without being forced to retire, which then allowed him to rack up laps until the checkered flag.
“They both got too rough with the accelerator, says Günther Steiner, the Haas F1 team principal. This is something they are going to have to learn because our car is not easy to drive. They lack experience but it was their first race and they still have a lot to learn. “
“We are planning some changes for the next Grand Prix at Imola, he emphasizes. Hopefully this will make our car more fun to drive because its handling is unpredictable in the wake of another car. “
“It was totally my fault, recognized Nikita. Everything takes place in less than three seconds, but after you think about it for days… I suddenly lost the confidence acquired during the winter tests and we will have to analyze that. “
As for Williams reservist Jack Aitken, he quipped: “I suddenly feel more comfortable with the 60 laps accomplished during the last Sakhir Grand Prix before my spin…”.
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