Nikita Mazepin ran in the dizzy heights of eleventh early on in Sunday’s Mexico City Grand Prix, but the Russian was unable to maintain that position and eventually dropped to the rear of the field at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
The Uralkali Haas F1 Team driver had hoped to at least keep Williams Racing’s Nicholas Latifi behind him, but a slow pit stop put paid to those chances, and once at the back, he did not have the pace to fight back.
Mazepin believes Haas lacked the downforce levels needed to fight their nearest rivals on Sunday, and as a result, he ended down in eighteenth position, three laps down on race winner Max Verstappen.
“It was a very long race,” admitted Mazepin. “We had a good start, we got through nicely and the first part of the race was going well.
“Then we decided to protect from Williams and unfortunately our pit stop was too slow – we just got done by them but I think we had the pace to probably keep them behind considering how hard it is to overtake on this track. Unfortunately it didn’t happen.
“I felt that as we had less downforce than we’d like it was really difficult to follow cars closely when you get overtaken by blue flags – after that it was a tough race.”
“I saw a lot of smoke and normally that isn’t a good sign” – Mick Schumacher
Team-mate Mick Schumacher’s Mexico City Grand Prix was over after just three corners, with the German suffering a clash with Esteban Ocon at turn two that broke his suspension.
Schumacher was attempting to avoid the spun Valtteri Bottas at turn one, but inadvertently put himself in a position to be collected by Ocon. Neither driver was at fault for the incident, but the German’s afternoon as over on lap one.
“I saw a lot of smoke and normally that isn’t a good sign,” said Schumacher. “I didn’t want to be face-on so I decided to go to the middle and unfortunately there were already cars there and we all got bunched up, and I made contact with Esteban Ocon.
“It’s unfortunate but these things happen – it’s not the first time it’s happened in my career and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I was looking forward to driving here and learning, next year hopefully we’ll have a better car and can attack more.
“We can always take positives.”