Nikita Mazepin enjoyed his first taste of Formula 1 machinery as he participated in the opening day of the post-British Grand Prix test with the Sahara Force India team at Silverstone on Tuesday.
The FIA European Formula 3 Championship racer completed 35 laps of the circuit during the day, finishing fifth fastest, with the young Russian admitting it was a big step up to run a F1 car compared to the Formula 3 car he is used to.
Mazepin will get another chance to test the VJM09 on Wednesday when the test concludes, and admits he is already comfortable behind the wheel and will be looking to improve further when he gets back out on track.
“It’s a great feeling to be driving a Formula One car and I am so grateful to Sahara Force India for this opportunity,” said Mazepin. “We managed to do a lot of running this morning, before the rain, and thankfully we have a second day in the car to make up for the time we lost in the afternoon.
“Jumping from a Formula Three car into a Formula One, there are hundreds of surprises, but the biggest have been the amount of downforce and the amount of speed you can carry through corners, and how great the change of direction feels.
“The team has done a really good job to help me get acclimatised to the car and I already feel pretty comfortable. It’s also been good to work with the whole team and get to know all the mechanics and engineers better.
“I still have lots to learn, but it’s been good so far and I am looking forward to being back in the car tomorrow.”