Haas driver Nikita Mazepin has continued his inauspicious apprenticeship in Formula 1 on Friday as he crashed out TWICE during practice ahead of this Sunday’s second race on the F1 schedule at Imola.
Mazepin, 22, has endured a tricky start to his Formula 1 career after his first-lap crash in the recent opener in Bahrain ended his maiden race just seconds after it had begun – and it doesn’t seem as if the Moscow native’s luck has changed in the days which have followed after another couple of lapses of judgement has prompted fans’ concern that the Russian is in over his head on the racetrack.
An early spin for Nikita Mazepin in his first European FP1
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 16, 2021
The session comes to a close with @nikita_mazepin spinning into the wall shortly before the pit entry 💥
He’s out of the car and ok 👍
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) April 16, 2021
Early in his FP1 session on Friday – the first of three practice runs on the Imola track – Mazepin once again lost control of his Haas car and spun out on the track, prompting a wave of derision on social media.
But matters quickly went from bad to worse for the inexperienced driver when he again lost control of his car towards the end of the session and crashed into the barrier close to entry to the pit lane, leading to race officials raising the red flag with one minute remaining on the clock.
A red flag displayed in Formula 1 means that officials have deemed the session or race too dangerous to continue, usually due to debris on the track in the aftermath of a crash.
Mazepin jokes aside, I am actually pretty concerned that at some point he’s gonna be involved in a really dangerous crash, potentially involving other drivers.
The guy literally can’t control the car, he’s a danger to himself and others at the moment imo.
— Matt Gallagher (@MattyWTF1) April 16, 2021
My name is Nikita Mazepin,but everybody calls me OH MY FUDGING GOD HE SPUN AGAIN LMAOOOO pic.twitter.com/1KsLvTLcyp
— F1 Omegalul 🇹🇷 (@F1omegalul) April 16, 2021
“You judge Mazepin too much and just for the attitude”
“He is a good driver”
Nikita Mazepin being a good driver: pic.twitter.com/QMZP5v47uh
— Julia 🏁 (@juliamesquitajj) April 16, 2021
The Russian’s latest misadventures on an F1 track have predictably yielded a chorus of memes and trolls on social media – but some have warned of the potential dangers of an inexperienced driver appearing to ‘learn on the job’ at the absolute top level of his sport.
“Mazepin jokes aside, I am actually pretty concerned that at some point he’s gonna be involved in a really dangerous crash, potentially involving other drivers,” warned one fan.
“The guy literally can’t control the car, he’s a danger to himself and others at the moment.”
Mazepin’s latest high-profile blunders come after he told the media that his high-profile exit from last month’s Bahrain GP “won’t happen again“.
“Dwelling on the past is not good to improve but learning and analysing was important but that was done a week ago, now eyes are on the next weekend and transferring this knowledge to the next race,” he said this week.
“I would just say pushing 101% when the wind is high and changing round all the time, that’s something that I didn’t expect and I was not ready for it in any way but I’ve had a pretty tough learning curve in that respect so it won’t happen again.”
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Despite Friday’s errors, Mazepin, who joined the Haas team this season alongside Mick Schumacher, son of F1 icon Michael, still finished slightly quicker than his teammate in the first session.
The Russian will be looking to improve on his fortunes in the next two practice sessions – but will know that he will have to have an almost error-free performance in those two runs lest he draw the ire of an expectant public on social media once more.
Elsewhere, an eventful first practice session at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix also saw Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon collide, causing the session to briefly be stopped. The pair were called to the stewards but no further action was taken.