Nikita Mazepin, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

Learning blue flags will take “a few race weekends” – Mazepin

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Nikita Mazepin says he’s still getting used to obeying blue flags, after his involvement in two incidents involving the race leader in the past two races.

In brief

Mazepin expects to learn blue flag etiquette soon

Mazepin was penalised for holding up Sergio Perez during the Portuguese Grand Prix, and last weekend was the subject of a complaint to F1 race director Michael Masi by Mercedes’ Toto Wolff, when Lewis Hamilton came up to lap him.

The Haas driver said he is still learning how to respond to F1’s blue flags. “I was dealing with these blue flag in Imola for the first time in my life,” he explained. “I previously never had a blue flag on a consistent basis.

“So it’s a matter of learning just the same as driving. And it took me about five, seven years to learn proper driving and it’s going to take me, hopefully, a few race weekends only to learn blue flags.”

F1 qualifying delay explained

The start of F1’s qualifying session was delayed by 10 minutes last weekend due to barrier repairs following a crash in the preceding Formula Regional Europe event on the track.

FIA F1 race director Michael Masi explained the damage caused to the TecPro barrier at turn nine by David Vidales’ car was not serious enough to require repairs before that race could resume, but had to be addressed before the quicker grand prix cars returned to the track.

“Having looked at that on the CCTV at the time and so forth, you need to consider everything, particularly from the point of view that Formula Regional cars are significantly slower than F1 cars and from that perspective it was fine to continue,” said Masi. “But obviously prior to the F1 session starting, with the damage that was to it, wanted to ensure that it was back to its full integrity.”

One positive Covid case again at Spanish GP

Just one positive test for Covid-19 was recorded among staff during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, the FIA and Formula 1 has confirmed, out of 5,234 tests conducted. This is the second race in a row only one person tested positive for the virus.

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Comment of the day

Is Sergio Perez really doing that much worse a job than a driver like Valtteri Bottas?

Perez is a good midfield driver – that’s his level. If you put a good midfield driver and it always has been. If you put a driver like him up against a Hamilton or Verstappen, they are going to struggle.

The Mercedes is faster than the Red Bull and it allows Bottas to be closer to the front than Perez is but otherwise, I don’t think there’s much of a gap in performance between the two of them. Perhaps once Perez gets more used to the team, he’ll find a bit more pace but I don’t think he’ll find enough to consistently cause a problem to Hamilton the same as Bottas rarely causes Max any worries.

There’s always a lot of talk about Mercedes using Bottas on an alternate strategy to put pressure on Red Bull but it’s rarely the case that he can keep up with Max.

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On this day in F1

Today in 1986 Prost won for McLaren in Monaco
  • 35 years ago today Alain Prost won the Monaco Grand Prix while Patrick Tambay was fortunate to escape injury in a dramatic roll at Mirabeau. Elio de Angelis started his final F1 race, retiring after 31 laps with engine trouble on his Brabham-BMW

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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32 comments on “Learning blue flags will take “a few race weekends” – Mazepin”

  1. Re COTD – Perez and Bottas may well be similar but until Perez can get to and stay P3 or P4 within around 20 seconds of the leaders it gives Mercedes the possibility of a free pitstop, opening up strategic options that Red Bull currently don’t have. Bottas does this, Perez for the moment at least, doesn’t.

    All experts agree that the difference between the Red Bull and Mercedes in raw pace now is negligible while their different traits favour some tracks/corners over others – swings and roundabouts. The biggest difference seems to be Hamilton is using and therefore preserving the tyres better, Bottas runs out of tyre just as quickly as Verstappen so it doesn’t seem to be car specific.

    It’s a common gripe I know but maybe one day they will have tyres that don’t need to be nursed and we can witness these great drivers pushing and racing for a whole race! Too much to ask for maybe… :(

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      11th May 2021, 8:43

      The problem though is if the Red Bull is built for Max and Sergio is struggling we have the same problem as Alex and Pierre. The differences between those too and Checo are a) Experience and b) He isn’t Red Bull affiliated

      This is an issue if you have two drivers of unequal status. The car is built for one driver to succeed whilst the other struggles to get results he is expected to whilst dealing with a car he isn’t suited to

      1. There is no more evidence that the RBR car is built for Max than there is that the Merc is built for LH. Unless you have some. SP is already performing like he is in the best car he has ever had, and will only get better. And yeah other than that he is no Max, and VB is no LH, but VB is far far more engrained at Mercedes, in the dominant car, and SP has had 4 races. If F1 is hard, which we should want it to be, then SP just needs more time. He has said it, Horner has said it, so I’m not sure what more needs be said. I suggest things are going at RBR exactly as they had expected wrt SP.

        To me the two sides to the street are that a) SP will take this best car he’s ever had and really show us some good stuff and that he was limited by his car in the past, or b) the great car he has will show us that he is only at a certain level as a F1 driver, and no more. Nobody has a crystal ball, and we’ll just have to see have things shake out. Nobody will want to prove to the world and RBR and himself what great things he is capable of in an F1 car, than Perez. He now has a car that all drivers aspire to having so they can show their stuff. To show us they were limited by the car before. But patience for now please. He’s had four races.

  2. That quote from Mazepin though… Wow!

    He really said that out loud?

    1. Quite unbelievable.

      1. He’s further out of his depth than anyone I can remember since the superlicence was withdrawn from Yuji Ide. He’s going to cause an avoidable collision in the race soon.

        FIA need to be firm on the standards expected of an F1 driver and Haas need to know that they have scraped the barrel too deeply this time in their search for money.

    2. Driving a f1 car in monaco while learning blue flags.. I’m hoping for the best.

      1. @qeki they probably will black/white flag him, and black flag him, and he probably wont understand and ignore, until they red flag the race to get him out of the car and his car out of the track.

    3. I literally cannot raise my eyebrow enough at Marzipan.

    4. A driver still learning blue flag basics for a given series after 4 races of experiencing them (I won’t count the race where he didn’t encounter any) is insufficiently competent for that series.

  3. @ltdslipdiff Yeah, “<emit took me about five, seven years to learn proper driving” with anyone else would go down as a heck of a statement, equal to “they race me so hard” but since it’s Nikita, it’ll just getting filed in the ‘another one’ folder.

    1. @bernasaurus I’m wondering what ‘proper driving’ is, but I’m not sure I’d dare ask.

  4. I’m sorry but Mazepin has surely been watching F1 for a large part of his life? Even if he hasn’t observed blue flag protocol in other series he must say least be aware of the concept?

    And honestly if someone is having difficulty understanding they drive the slowest car of the field, and when they see the colour blue flashing at them to let a car that’s clearly not racing for position with him past, should they really be kidding themselves that they belong in the sport?

    1. @philipgb it seems a lot slower in the hands of Mazepin than it does in Mick’s, given that Mick was able to fight for a while with the Williams and ultimately finished 12 seconds behind Latifi, whereas Mazepin was about 50 seconds behind Mick.

    2. @philipgb as someone said before, this is just another Mazepin statement. I hardly think Vettel or Alonso were used to seeing blue flags (apart from when they complained on the radio about other drivers not complying with them) and yet they dutifully move out of the way when they’re lapped.

    3. @philipgb I couldn’t agree more with you. Every racing driver should be aware of the concept regardless of how common they’re in lower single-seater categories.

    4. I am no Mazepin admirer, but I don’t think he should be made dumber or worse than he is.

      I don’t get the impression that he isn’t aware of what blue flags mean. He would hardly be that unprepared. But perhaps it takes a few races to get the instinctive feel for exactly where, when, and how the faster drivers expect him to move, in order for them to pass in the (for them) best manner.

      If this is the case, I can respect what he is saying, and trust that the next few races will offer plenty of opportunity to get the feel of yielding.

    5. I tell you what, if Mazepin ever ends up in Indy Car, where blue flags are only a guide, and don’t need to be obeyed, he’s gonna be a monster!

    6. @philipgb Different series handle blue flags differently. If it had taken a couple of races to un-cross-thread potential misunderstandings re: which series’ conventions held sway, I’d have understood.

      Four races is another matter, but if you have a driver that thinks money is all that’s needed to belong in a sport, the hint will never occur independently.

  5. “On this day in F1” reminds me that the Monaco GP and the Indy 500 don’t need to clash. Would love to see more current F1 drivers give Indy a go.

    1. Xavier Rodrigues
      11th May 2021, 8:34

      Well this year they actually don’t clash, Monaco is a week earlier. Trouble is that it still clashes with Indianapolis 500 qualifying, so a team still needs to find someone to qualify the car that the F1 driver could jump into the following weekend for the race.

  6. LOL to Mazepin’s quotes.

    COTD: 100%.

  7. Bottas puts up his 2018 AMG Mercedes for sale in a Finnish classifieds site.

    Comes with optional Bonnington accessory to make sure you can’t go faster than #44


    …seriously, VB77 i selling it for the benefit of his local Karting track, any bids welcome I’m sure.

      1. That’s really poor audio.

  8. I side with Charles regarding Nikita.

  9. I’m going to be kind to Mazepin & take the quote not as him not understanding how blue flags work but instead talking about figuring out how best to let faster cars past without costing them too much time while also not losing too much time & tyre temperature etc… himself.

    Simply not understanding how blue flags work doesn’t make sense to me, Trying to figure out how to let faster cars by while trying to cost them & yourself as little time as possible while also trying not to lost tyre temperature to take them out of the optimal working range does make sense & is something i’ve heard other drivers in his position talk about the past decade.

    1. You are very kind but you make a very valid point. I ,myself, was putting that statement on the account of a bad Russian/ English translation or a quote taken out of context. Still, at this rate it’s going to take another 7 years to finally learn proper driving .

    2. Isn’t learning how to let faster cars past without costing them too much time while also not losing too much time and tyre temp something that can be accomplished in a simulator?

      The impression I get is Mazepin thought after his private sessions in the older Mercs and running in other series, he could just sit in the Haas and be up to speed right away. Clearly that hasn’t happened. Mick is pretty competitive with the back markers at this point, while Mazepin looks to be in a 4th tier all by himself (front runners, mid-field, back markers, Mazepin). It’s telling that Mick, despite COVID restrictions has been able to get into the Haas simulator and the factory while it seems Mazepin has not. Also telling was Haas’ social media post above showing Mick’s Team Spirit. Mick seems to be putting in the effort to integrate into the team, to learn the car away from the racetrack, to improve himself. Mazepin does not.

  10. And it took me about five, seven years to learn proper driving and it’s going to take me, hopefully, a few race weekends only to learn blue flags.

    ?! Speechless.

  11. RocketTankski
    11th May 2021, 22:59

    Blue flags, red lights, white lines.. They should have some kind of test to remember all these crazy things.

  12. Could be wrong, but seem to recall HAAS having similar problems with their previous drivers.
    Nevertheless, Maz IS the son of a Russian oligarch. History dictates…………………………….

    Password = Rubles

Comments are closed.