Hamilton texted Mazepin to apologise for near-miss in practice

2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Nikita Mazepin said he is glad Lewis Hamilton faced no penalty for the incident between the pair in third practice.

Hamilton was summoned to the stewards for holding up Mazepin in the second half of yesterday’s final hour of practice ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The Haas driver had to go over kerbs at turn eight in order to avoid a collision.

“I was on a fast lap and I was going through turns seven and eight, which are flat in our car,” explained Mazepin. “They’re all blind and I didn’t know that there was a car on the racing line, so I kept it flat until a moment I saw he was not going to move from it.

“It was not a big deal from my side. We train to have the reactions necessary to avoid these kind of situations.”

The pair swapped messages following the incident, Mazepin revealed. “Lewis has been very nice and we sent each other texts about that. I just hoped that he had a good qualifying and he did, as always. So that’s the main thing.”

“He felt very sorry for what happened and he said it wasn’t the best job done from their side,” Mazepin added. “It’s really nice to see the experienced and older generation really paying attention to these things because in F2 you might never get driver thinking about it whereas in F1 a seven time world champion is so that’s really kind from him.”

Hamilton was given a reprimand for the incident, and Mercedes were fined €25,000, after the stewards ruled the driver had been given insufficient warning Mazepin was approaching.

Mazepin said he believed this was the right outcome. “I really like Lewis and I really wish him all the best that I can in his title fight, and I wouldn’t want him to be penalised for something that was together with me.

“I’m in my first year in Formula 1, he was probably focussing on his steering wheel adjustors and thinking how to find the bit of lap time before qualifying. So if the cost was for me not to complete one of my laps in FP3, so be it.”

The Haas driver admitted he let off steam in the cockpit following their high-speed near-miss. “You have maybe one or two swear words come out because we really put everything on the line for that lap and then it doesn’t come along, but I had experience in this.”

In their verdicts on Hamilton and Pierre Gasly, who was given a warning for a similar incident, the stewards pointed out teams must ensure their drivers are warned when other cars are catching them because of they many fast and blind corners at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

“You don’t have a chance to rely on your mirrors, you rely on your engineer,” said Mazepin. “And an engineer is not a robot, he’s a human and he’s got so many jobs to do as well as telling you where you are on-track and sometimes he doesn’t tell you in the right moment that somebody is coming at a speed of 250[kph].

“So the people as engineers really don’t deserve the criticism for it. And in my case, I was always happy to take the blame.”

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2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Author information

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...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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10 comments on “Hamilton texted Mazepin to apologise for near-miss in practice”

  1. IMHO he should say – give him a race ban because without his intervention I could qualify 19th, not 20th! :-)

  2. This F2 thing is a joke today

    1. RandomMallard (@)
      5th December 2021, 16:11

      @canadianjosh And yet it somehow got even worse. 2 red flags in 5 laps must be a record?

  3. I like that Lewis apologised – and I like that Mazepin accepted the apology. I also like what he said about engineers – he has just gone up hugely in my estimation.

    1. Altoghether the last few races seems to see a positive development of sorts there @lass321.

  4. Good words from Mazwpun, now he just has to up his speed. He has a better chance than many, so he needs to lift his speed to atleast his teammates speed regularly

  5. As hugely hated as Mazepin was and how immature he portrayed himself at the start of the season, he truly has done a lot of growing up. I feel as if he had an eye-opener into the real world and is starting to see it through everyone else’s lens.

    I am not saying that his off-track antics are justified (they are not at all) but he cannot change them but is trying to change who he is as a person moving forward.

    Great maturity from him.

  6. This track is only possible with a greater dependency on the technology. If they rely on human judgement things will happen before they’ve had time to analysis it.

    They’ll need track telemetry routed directly into collision prediction software to warn the pit crew, for them to relay this to their driver, well in advance of any incident. eg If a car ahead slows down, or stops, or is driving slow enough to be caught. Without this there are bound to be accidents as a result of human err.

    Even then this track is so new, that telling a driver to watch out for a slow car at turn 10 or turn 16 might not register with everything else they have to be attentive to. Who at that speed, and with so little difference between the corners, will have a working memory of all the turns or where they occur?

    What can the pit say in the time allowed before the driver is on top of the incident?

    A race track created for the 21st centuary with no history to speak of, creating its own history now, but at what cost?

  7. Texting… I understand. Walking those 50 meters and deliver your excuses in person is not for someone o…. f his

    1. Not even sure they are allowed to with the Corona bubble strategies still in place Erikje.

      And with all prep work between FP3 and qualifying, then the interviews etc after qualifying for Hamilton, it could just be there just was no real time to actually do that (even if it would be allowed.)

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