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Mazepin explains qualifying faux pas

NEWS STORY
28/03/2021

Nikita Mazepin has explained why he broke the so-called 'gentleman's agreement' by overtaking cars in the final moments of Q1.

As if things aren't difficult enough for Haas on-track, spare a thought for the team's hapless social media admin.

At the very mention of Nikita Mazepin's name - God forbid a picture - the full force of the Twitter mob is unleashed... and it isn't pretty.

Never mind identity politics, this new breed of 'fan' is taking it to another level, and the Russian driver is usually the target.

Yesterday's qualifying session was manna to the mob of course which was clearly waiting, twitchforks at the ready.

For other than two spins, the second of which compromised a number of drivers, and has Sebastian Vettel up before the stewards today, the Haas driver was seen to overtake a number of cars as the drivers jockeyed for track position ahead of their final runs, thereby breaking a so-called gentleman's agreement.

The Russian subsequently explained the reason for the faux pas.

"I was kept for a long time on the weigh-bridge and I lost a load of time," he said. "My team had told me there wasn't enough time to cross the start-finish line if I don't go now. I'm the team's driver, I'm doing as instructed, and the instructions were to push, so I pushed."

Insisting that he had never heard of the agreement, Mazepin said he would "take notice from now on".

Team boss, Guenther Steiner admitted to being surprised that both his drivers were called to the weighbridge.

"Not everybody saw, but we had both cars stopped on the FIA weighbridge," he said. "We wanted to do three runs each with both cars, but the time gets very short to do them - we couldn't do all that.

"With Nikita, with rushing, something went wrong with his brake-by-wire setting," he added. "That's when on his third attempt he spun - his rear brakes locked up.

"All-in-all the result doesn't look great," he admitted, "but the guys now have their first qualifying under their belt.

"They experienced about all the issues you can have in qualifying - not least both of them getting stopped on the weighbridge, that was a new one for us. At least they know how do to that now."

"I had an issue with brake-by-wire and I locked up on the rears, not sure why into Turn 1, because the pedal just went long," explained Mazepin. "So we need to look into that, something I didn't really expect. I've never had it driving in the tests before and free practices, so hopefully that won't happen tomorrow.

"Still plenty to look for but it was always going to be difficult coming into this qualifying."

Not as "difficult" as being the team's social media admin however.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Bahrain, here.

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