Formula 1

Nikita Mazepin: “The car was quite difficult to drive fast out there”

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Credit: Steven Tee / LAT Images

Nikita Mazepin admitted the Monaco Grand Prix was the most intense race of his career to date, although he was pleased with his internal progress made within the Uralkali Haas F1 Team since the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Russian ended three laps down in seventeenth but ahead of team-mate Mick Schumacher for the first time, with Mazepin enjoying a relatively clean weekend for the first time since joining Haas at the beginning of the season.

But the Circuit de Monaco proved to be a difficult proposition for the FIA Formula 2 graduate, and even Haas being the slowest team on the grid at this stage of the season, everything was happening very fast all weekend long.

“The race was very intense,” said Mazepin.  “Ever since I started racing in single-seaters I haven’t had so much required concentration, because on this track, even though we’re one of the slowest teams, everything flies by so much.

“There was a moment when I was going through turn 14, I just felt like I touched the wall, and that’s where Charles (Leclerc) went off yesterday, I mean there was just really no margin for mistakes.

“The car was quite difficult to drive fast out there but we’ve made good progress within my internal team since Barcelona and that’s a very positive picture.”

“I felt we were quite close to matching the pace in the midfield” – Mick Schumacher

Team-mate Schumacher finished right at the back of the pack on Sunday, although the German was happy with the kind of pace he was able to show when in clear air.

Schumacher fell behind Mazepin when a suspected fuel pressure pick-up issue affected him for a handful of laps, but despite finishing behind his team-mate, he said there were some positives to take away from a weekend where he twice hit the barriers in practice.

“We had a small issue for a few laps and unfortunately I lost a lot of time to the guys ahead and I had to let Nikita (Mazepin) by because we didn’t manage to fix it before,” said Schumacher.  “After that the pace was quite good, I felt we were quite close to matching the pace in the midfield which was good, and we caught up to Nikita.

“We didn’t do a switchback which was ok, it was understandable – obviously, we had quite a few guys behind us so there was going to be blue flags. Overall, lots learned this weekend, with some positives and some negatives but we live and we learn I guess.

“I’m already looking forward to Baku.”

Mick Schumacher finished behind his team-mate for the first time in 2021 – Credit: Steven Tee / LAT Images
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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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