Mazepin says team told him to overtake queue of rivals in Q1

2021 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Nikita Mazepin says he was following his team’s instructions when he overtook a queue of cars before beginning his final flying lap in qualifying.

The Haas driver passed Sebastian Vettel, Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas as they queued to begin their final flying laps at the end of Q1.

This prompted claims Mazepin had ignored an informal agreement between drivers not to pass each other immediately before beginning a qualifying lap. Vettel complained there was a “mess in the last sector” in Q1.

Mazepin said he acted on the instructions of his team. His race engineer was heard telling him he was “okay to overtake” the cars ahead, as Mazepin was running out of time to begin his final flying lap.

“I am team’s driver,” said Mazepin. “We have radio intercom, and I am instructed to do what I’m told. I crossed the start-finish line with two seconds left under my belt, otherwise I would have got a red flag. There was no time to wait.

“I was obviously in the queue like everyone else, but I’ve been told that if I don’t go now, the session’s over. And what else do I have to do? I have to follow what the team tells me, because that’s my job. So I’m sorry if somebody is unhappy about it, but I follow my engineer’s advice.”

Having passed the drivers and started his final lap, Mazepin immediately spun at the first corner. He and his engineer had been discussing switch changes on his steering wheel to remedy a brake-by-wire problem, which he said was the cause of his spin.

“I had an electronic issue called BBW failure towards the end, which we’re still looking into,” said Mazepin. “It’s basically like losing the front end of the brakes and it’s just you only have the rears. Essentially the brakes don’t work the same. It’s like pulling the handbrake going in to a corner so I turned around, unfortunately.”

After qualifying last on the grid for his first F1 race, Mazepin admitted he wasn’t as happy with his car as he had been before the weekend began.

“Without going too much into detail, I finished testing in a happy place, but then something was changed,” he said. “Obviously ever since I started this weekend I wasn’t in the happy place [as] before. I’m very confident that I will come back to the happy place as soon as possible.

“I’m not there yet, but the season is long and hopefully I’m on the way to the destination.”

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2021 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
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18 comments on “Mazepin says team told him to overtake queue of rivals in Q1”

  1. Red flag, LOL. He seemed to have enough time. Not that it mattered in the end as he threw his chance, anyway.

    1. Yeah must have been more than 2 seconds since most of the guys he passed then went on past him in the first corner

    2. Red flag. So much lol.

  2. Perez didn’t make it to the line before the flag, so arguably Mazepin did the right thing for himself. I have no sympathy, cos we get this all the time and it’s stupidity to get caught out of time.

  3. Anon A. Mouse
    28th March 2021, 0:19

    This prompted claims Mazepin had ignored an informal agreement between drivers not to pass each other immediately before beginning a qualifying lap. Vettel complained there was a “mess in the last sector” in Q1.

    And as we’ve seen at Monza a handful of years prior, abiding by this “informal agreement” can leave you looking rather foolish. Until this is written into the regulations, drivers should do what they have to do (in a safe manner) to get their lap in.

    1. Agree. Even Verstappen overtook several cars on his way to pole as his engineer didn’t want him to get bunched up before the lap and lose temperatures (which worked great).

      Just because Haas is the slowest team doesn’t mean they can’t do what they think is right for them.

  4. everyone just back off Maze(s)pin. He’s only 4.5 seconds slower than poll. Gee.

    1. He’s also leading the Spin championship this season. I think he’s nailed 2 in the first quali session of the season… Which is no small feat. Seb is going to have a battle on his hands this season.

    2. Sadly they won’t, sadly I won’t either.

  5. So it’s official; we’re going with ‘Maze-spin’.

    1. Massive Spin?

    2. I’m not ready to fully give up Marzipan yet. I’ll try Marzispin for a while and see how that goes.

    3. Pin the finish line on the maze.

  6. Giuliano Sadar
    28th March 2021, 10:56

    Seb facing penalty, Mazepin no. Emanuele Pirro again. Shame

    1. Whilst not exactly the most popular driver, Mazepin’s actions broke an informal agreement, but what he did was legal and something other drivers have done in recent years too (see Balue’s point about Verstappen doing it, or similarly Sainz in Monza last year).

      In the case of Vettel, the allegation is that he did not obey a double waived yellow flag, where the driver is instructed to slow down significantly to a speed where he can stop quickly and safely, and that there are likely to be marshals working on or near the edge of the track. If he was not following that instruction, then that is a significant breach of an important safety regulation and one where a penalty is entirely appropriate.

  7. If you watch the onboard, the pits tell him we have time, he then proceeds to overtake at which point they say “ok overtake”

    1. Good catch!

  8. Darren Hastings
    28th March 2021, 18:50

    #saynotomazepin hopefully he spins the rich boy idiot out of himself. (Hmmmm maybe karma is punishing him as Haas just won’t)
    Great race for most others though.

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