The Uralkali Haas F1 Team saw both its rookie drivers finish after an eventful race at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, Italy. Mick Schumacher finished in sixteenth position and Nikita Mazepin finished in seventeenth position respectively.
Both the drivers started on the full wet tyres on a damp track at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit. Mazepin escaped unscathed as Nicholas Latifi made contact with him as he crashed into the barriers.
During the ensuing Safety Car period, young Schumacher lost control in the slippery conditions and suffered front-wing damage. The German had to circulate around the track until the pitwall was reopened and the team could repair the damage.
The Haas F1 team is languishing at the bottom of the time charts and in a race with mixed conditions, it was an achievement to see both the rookie drivers finish the race.
Schumacher suffered a torrid first few laps which he survived to finish the race and said: “It was my first time in a Formula 1 car in the wet conditions – it definitely wasn’t easy. To be honest I wasn’t quite sure what happened at the moment I spun, it went quite quickly. I don’t know if I was too aggressive or if it was a puddle or whatever.
“It’s something we’ll analyze but I’m quite disappointed in myself. We’d had good position up until then. Overall, I think it was a positive race, we finished 16th and we were good in terms of pace. We saw the checkered flag and that was the goal.”
Nikita Mazepin : “It was a good learning experience in the bag”
Mazepin has had a dificult start to his Formula 1 career. In the difficult conditions he survived contact with Latifi’s car and managed to finish the race. The Russian had a steady race without his characteristic spins and said: “So much happened in this race, from starting on the wets having not really expected it as the sunshine wasn’t long before the start, then a red flag and loads of things basically happening. We just weren’t really fast enough today to fight with others.
“It was a good learning experience in the bag though and to see the checkered flag was good. I don’t think Nicolas (Latifi) knew I was there when he came back across the track. I gave him all the room I had but I just don’t think he was aware that I was there. I think it was just unfortunate for him. I don’t think anyone had an easy one today, but I guess it was a very exciting race for the fans.”
It is a learning experience for both drivers in their debut season in a slow car. That they managed to finish the race in such difficult conditions is a good step forward for the team.