Schumacher-Mazepin, a question of confidence

After a close encounter on the final lap in Baku, the Haas drivers supposedly cleared up any misunderstandings. Really ?

Published on 17/06/2021 à 17:30

Julien BILLIOTTE

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Schumacher-Mazepin, a question of confidence

The rookies of the American team have already clashed several times this season / © DPPI

« What the fuck was that, honestly? Seriously, does he want to kill us or what? » This is how he reacted Mick Schumacher after receiving the checkered flag at the Azerbaijan GP two weeks ago.

The reason for the German's wrath? The very limited defensive maneuver of his teammate Haas Nikita mazepin during the last round. 

Huddled in the Russian's slipstream on the long Baku straight, Schumacher had shifted to the right to overtake Mazepin when the latter had pulled the wheel to close the door while the two men were launched at full speed. 

A debriefing with their boss Guenther Steiner and chief engineer Ayao Komatsu logically followed. While we thought the incident was closed, the two main protagonists still had a different reading of the facts two weeks later. 

« Already, there was no incident because both cars returned to the pits without the slightest scratch and with their wings in place, launched Mazepin from the Circuit Paul Ricard this Thursday. If you look at it that way, it's pretty positive. There was a little disagreement between us while we were on the last lap of a chaotic race. 

I thought he was going to choose the inside trajectory but he opted for the outside. When I saw that he was involved, I let him pass because there were no points at stake and the team's result remains the priority in my eyes ". No issue, really? The 13th and 14th places of Schumacher and Mazepin nevertheless allowed their team to move ahead Williams in the Manufacturers' World Championship. 

  • Faintness ? What discomfort?

Schumacher, for his part, declared that he was going to have to learn to trust his garage neighbor, who enjoys a reputation that is, to say the least, sulphurous, both on and off the track. 

« We must run together, trust is built and it can be built again, commented the champion of F2 In title. For the moment, I don't really know what to expect in one-on-one but I'm convinced that we will be able to trust each other after the exchanges we had between us and with the team ". That’s still a lot of times the word “ partner ”, but let’s continue. 

« At the time, it was quite confusing because I didn't expect it at all, especially between teammates., he added, referring to the incident which was not one in Mazepin's eyes.

I don't mind that we're in a fight in the last lap but when you have that much aspiration and use up all the battery you have left, nothing can stop you, unless you make a move to scare your rival or pack him towards the wall and that's what he tried to do. In the end, I kept my foot on the accelerator and passed but I didn't expect this kind of behavior, hence my reaction ». 

Schumacher clarified that Mazepin had apologized after the race but the Russian made it clear that he had apologized not for the incident (remember there was none!) but for the way of which his teammate was able to interpret his gesture, which was ultimately innocent. The guy is still very, very strong in semantics. 

« He was clearly annoyed but I would just like to say that it is essential that he does not expect to have an easy life, hammered the Muscovite. I will never defend my position. I just didn't expect him to be where he was and I told him I was sorry for how he felt. But it wasn't for my actions on the track ».

You will have understood, there is therefore no discomfort at Haas. Nor was there an incident on the last lap of the Azerbaijan GP.

Julien BILLIOTTE

AUTOhebdo deputy editor-in-chief. The feather dipped in gall.

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