Mazepin frustrated by drivers' lack of respect for 'gentlemen's agreement'


Nikita Mazepin says that he felt cheated out of a final flyer in Saturday's qualifying in Jeddah by the behaviour of drivers who ignored the tacit agreement that normally applies in the session.

The agreement is intended to prevent drivers from passing each other at the end of a preparation lap. At the start of the 2021 season in Bahrain, Mazepin was lambasted by several of his colleagues precisely for not respecting the specific etiquette.

But In Q1, the Haas driver was foiled by those who didn't respect the gentlemen's rule, and who therefore thwarted his final effort.

"I was very concerned about my actions back in Bahrain, where I did a very similar thing as I would do in Formula 2, which would be taken without any criticism," he explained.

"I overtook some cars that were going very slow into the last corner because I felt like I needed to go and was harshly told that this is not acceptable and this is not what you do in Formula 1.

"Interestingly, 20 races later on, drivers who have been here over 10 years, most of them actually overtook me.

"I think it was a pack of four or five cars into the last corner about 150 metres before starting the lap."

Mazepin felt frustrated by the fact that several drivers in Q1 indulged in the very practice that they frowned upon at the start of the season.

"The rules are the same for everyone and I am new in this sport, so I’ll play along with what others are doing," he added.

"But what I think is unacceptable is criticising the young generation and then later on, as the year goes on, really changing their approach slightly.

"Like I said, I need to learn and I need to analyse because what happened was very disappointing as I’ve been overtaken by Vettel, I started up behind them, and Max [Verstappen] and him both braked on the straight and I had to brake as well.

"If you lose one and a half seconds going into Turn 1 there’s no point to continue at the pace that we’re going."

Earlier on Saturday, Mazepin also suffered a moment when he exited at full speed the Turn 8 blind left-hander only to discover a slow moving Lewis Hamilton.

The Russian was fortunately able to take evasive action, but Hamilton – who later apologized to Mazepin - was handed a reprimand while Mercedes was hit with a €25,000 fine for failing to timely inform the Briton of the Haas driver's oncoming presence.

"He felt very sorry for what happened, and he said it wasn't the best job done from their side,” Mazepin said.

"It's really nice to see the experienced and older generation really paying attention to these things. In F2 you might never get a driver thinking about it, where in F1, the seven-time world champion is. So that's really kind from him."

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