- Nikita Mazepin spun several times in Bahrain qualifying. The Haas rookie was knocked off last. Brake problems as a reason for a false start in the desert.
Nikita Mazepin showed a turbulent first Formula 1 qualifying in Bahrain. The Haas rookie spun twice before finishing Saturday last. Team mate Mick Schumacher landed only one position ahead, but he distanced Mazepin by eight tenths of a second. The Russian doesn’t want to let that get him down. There is also a technical reason for the missteps.
“I had a defect in the brake-by-wire system,” said the 22-year-old, when the electronically controlled braking system on his VF-21 failed. However, this was only the case with his spin in the final minutes of Q1, when he lost his tail while braking for the first corner and flew off.
“You lose the braking effect on the front axle and only have the rear brakes. It’s like pulling the handbrake,” he explains. But even before that, he seemed to have difficulties with the balance of the car. On his first fast lap he spun around turn 13 when he oversteered while turning and could no longer catch the car.
Mazepin lacks confidence in the car
“After the tests, I was in a good position, but something is different now. Since the beginning of the weekend I have not been in this good position anymore and I no longer have the confidence I had before,” puzzles Mazepin. However, this was not due to experiments at Haas, as team boss Günther Steiner explained to Motorsport-Magazin.com .
“The setups were very similar. He just can’t get the balance that he had during the test,” said the South Tyrolean. He remains confident that the Russian will not lose touch with Schumacher: “He will be back there. The track conditions have changed a lot since the test.”
Mazepin was frustrated with his performance despite the explanation for his problem. “My lap was of course very bad because I had this braking problem and only had one attempt. That was annoying,” he says. Originally three attempts were planned, but like Schumacher, he was also ordered to weigh in by the FIA in between.
Haas remains optimistic
Steiner understood the problem for his young drivers to be waved out by the officials in the first F1 qualifying, but he sees the learning effect as positive: “All difficult situations are a lesson. As much as I complain about the scales, it’s good that they have now gone through it once and have learned how it works. The second time it will be better. “
With 22 more qualifying sessions planned for this season, Mazepin sees no reason to panic either. “It’s very important to look at the big picture. We knew that the first qualifying of the year would be tough,” he says. “Sometimes things go wrong, but it’s important not to let that throw you off track.”