Nikita Mazepin says he doesn’t care about the criticism he has received from other drivers in his debut season. He emphasizes that he is in Formula 1 to “work and drive as fast as possible” and that he does not have to be friends with all drivers.
Mazepin received a lot of criticism from colleagues, especially at the start of the season, who in Bahrain, for example, were not happy that the Russian ignored the so-called ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ and then caused a yellow flag by a spider. He was regularly criticized throughout the season, but didn’t seem to care.
Asked if he really doesn’t care what other drivers think of him, Mazepin told: “Yes. I work for Haas and Günther,” he refers to team principal Steiner. “I have a lot of friends outside the paddock. I’m just here to work and drive as fast as I can. I always want to be the first,” said the Russian.
Mazepin recently said that the incidents between him and Mick Schumacher this season are “nothing personal”. The two have had several fights with each other, but according to Mazepin, that was mainly because the two are condemned to each other as competitors on the track. Even now he emphasizes that he sees a good friend in Mick. “We respect each other. For me there are two Micks. Off the track I love him and his manner very much. We are the same age, we are ambitious and talented. If he ever needs help, I will always try to support him.”
Mazepin sees riding alongside a Schumacher as a great opportunity to learn. “He comes from a very talented family. The things that his father Michael was so good at, you can also see that in Mick. It’s an honor to ride with him. I see exactly what he does well and try to do even better,” said Mazepin.