Nikita Mazepin was apologetic after a latest run-in with Mick Schumacher in F1 Italian GP, as Guenther Steiner is relieved that it was sorted rather well between the two.
Haas’ Schumacher was unlucky yet again after a run-in with teammate Mazepin at Turn 4 and 5, which caused the German to spin at the Italian GP. This happened just after the German was hit by Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel after safety car re-start. The Russian, meanwhile, retired from the race after a power unit failure.
The post-race interviews saw Mazepin apologetic after what had happened in terms of contact made with Schumacher, for which he was handed a 5s penalty too. These past few weeks have been a bit intense for the Haas team, with both butting heads both on and off the track, especially at the Dutch GP.
At Zandvoort, they had their tussles, both during qualifying and the race on Sunday wherein the latter, Mazepin made contact with Schumacher, damaging his front wing and almost sending him into the pit entry wall. The relationship from that point on has not been as stable, and seemingly being more professional rather than chummy.
The Russian was unapologetic last weekend, but it was different this time around. Mazepin told media that he himself was unhappy with what happened with Schumacher, talking about the contact and spinning his teammate. Taking the blame and owning up to his mistake on the track.
“I think that one is really simple, it was my mistake and I have no shame to apologise,” said Mazepin to media. “I’m sure he’ll make a lot of mistakes in the future and I will make a lot of mistakes in the future and the most important thing is to remain a human. It was my mess-up, no discussion on it, I deserved the penalty even though it wasn’t on purpose and I was fortunate he didn’t lose too much time by it, he was able to spin the car round straightaway. It was my fault, now I just say sorry.”
Elaborating more on the incident and the whole race until the retirement, Mazepin added: “I had a power unit failure from what I believe – we just lost all power. I think it was dangerous for the whole unit to continue forwards and not be able to recover it completely, so the team said to stop the car immediately.
“With Mick, he braked very early going in to Turn 4 and I just put my nose there and obviously he needed to make the corner and turn in, so I’m sorry it happened. As I said, it was my fault, but it was a racing incident. It was obvious that I wasn’t happy about it and that it happened. Later I had a flat spot and half a wing plate missing, we needed to box for a pit stop and then obviously the engine said goodbye.”
Having had to handle the situation since Zandvoort, team boss Steiner was more relieved after the Monza run-in, and assured that the air was cleared regarding the Italian GP incident between the drivers and is hopeful that this aids in the learning curve for both the rookies in the upcoming races.
“It was a pretty exciting race for us in all aspects with all that went on,” said Steiner. “Obviously, again we had a run-in between Mazepin and Schumacher but they cleared the air about it. What was said was said and they are good. We’re making progress on that side and hopefully we can keep it like this.
“I think our two guys learned from the last races, now try to move on and try to take onboard the suggestions that we as a team give them and hopefully we have less of this coming in the future, even if today it happened. If you are clear about it, it’s good, it’s part of learning and fortunately the car was not badly damaged,” summed up Steiner.
Schumacher, meanwhile, kept answers to the questions on the incident concise and extremely brief, focusing rather on how the race went for himself. Though with damage on his front wing, the German was very happy with how the race panned out, raving about the good job done by operations as well.
“I think that you know in that case it’s just really tight, we’re fighting and obviously low downforce,” said Schumacher, when asked of the incident. “I haven’t seen it so I have to see it but then again for me I felt about this race was good, I don’t think that will really change anything on our end race positioning. Personally, I felt it was a good race.
“I feel we took the right decisions in terms of strategy and I feel the communication in the race was very good. In terms of race start, there was a lot happening in front and with the safety car things got interesting. We had a good restart this time and we were able to fight. Unfortunately, I got a bit of damage on the front wing, but in general we can be happy how we managed it,” summed up Schumacher.
The story was written by Selena Aburas
Here’s what Mick Schumacher, Nikita Mazepin and Guenther Steiner after Zandvoort