Mazepin “extremely sorry” for close call with Hamilton | 2021 Turkish Grand Prix
Nikita Mazepin apologised to Lewis Hamilton for holding up the Mercedes driver while being lapped during the Turkish Grand Prix.
The pair had a close call on lap 28 when Hamilton pulled off-line to lap the Haas as they approached the fast turn 11 right-hander. Mazepin, who was being shown blue flags indicating he should let Hamilton by, kept to the racing line, forcing the Mercedes driver to back off.
“I’m extremely sorry to Lewis,” said Mazepin after the race. He explained he had difficulty seeing what was in his mirrors in the wet conditions and wanted more information from his team on the radio about drivers lapping him.
“I’ve been complaining to the team that I can’t see anything with the mirrors,” said Mazepin. “I do need proper guidance in my ears on where the other cars are because of all the spray, and Turkey isn’t exactly the cleanest spray that we have so it flies and dries out.
“So I was driving blind and when you get so many cars overtaking you, lapping you actually not once but even twice on an 18 [car] grid, times that by two, and it was just a disaster.
“So I’m happy that we managed to get out the way, but I’ll see Lewis now and apologise to him.”
Mazepin’s usual race engineer Dominic Haines was absent from the event for personal reasons. However his replacement Ayao Komatsu did advise the team’s driver that Hamilton was approaching.
Mazepin had just let Sergio Perez past when Komatsu told him: “Blue flag Hamilton, he’s one second behind you.” Mazepin then rounded turn 11, delaying Hamilton, and asked his engineer for the gap to the car behind. “Hamilton’s just there,” said Komatsu, as the Mercedes went by into turn 12.
Hamilton wasn’t the only driver to be frustrated by Mazepin. Max Verstappen was also held up while lapping him. “Oh my god what is this Haas doing mate?” he exclaimed on his radio to race engineer Gianpiere Lambiase. “Look at that.”
Formula 1 race director Michael Masi said Mazepin’s move was “a bit rude” but the stewards saw no need to take action over the incident.
“Nikita came up to me straight after the race and said, simply put, that [he had] water spray in his mirrors and so forth. But he was also going to apologise to Lewis because he just simply did not see him there, and got out of the way immediately.
“Yes, it was looked at, but there was nothing further from that point.”
Mazepin was penalised during the Portuguese Grand Prix weekend for holding up Perez during the race while being lapped.
2021 Turkish Grand Prix
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October 11, 2021 at 06:36PM