Haas drivers Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin disagree over the reason for an apology from the latter for his defensive move at the end of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Mazepin swerved across the track to try and block Schumacher at top speed as his teammate was rapidly closing in using DRS on the run to the finish line, with the pair coming perilously close to contact. Schumacher didn’t lift and easily cleared Mazepin to before the checkered flag, and proceeded to angrily gesture at the Russian and shout on team radio: “What the f••• was that? Honestly? Seriously! Does he want to kill us?!”
When asked about the incident in France, Schumacher said a team meeting straight after the end of the race resulted in Mazepin apologizing for the move.
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“We spoke about it all together and he did, after seeing the video, apologize for it, so in that sense we’re all fine,” Schumacher said. “I kind of thought about it afterwards — obviously in the moment it was rather, well, confusing in a way because I was not expecting it at all, especially between teammates.
“I understand it was the last lap, we all fight, but if you come in such a tow you have, all what is left in terms of battery, and use everything, there is no stopping, and the only way you stop somebody is by scaring him or pushing him into the wall and obviously he tried to do that.
“I in fairness kept my foot down so I got by him anyways but as I said it was unexpected from my side and that’s why I had such a strong reaction afterwards. But as I and the team also mentioned, the air was cleared afterwards and it’s a fresh start for here.”
However, Mazepin disagreed, stating that he didn’t feel there was an incident to be worried about as there was no contact, and caveating his apology as a statement to appease Schumacher.
“I think the wording there isn’t quite right — there was no incident, both cars returned to the pits with front wings and the paint job was as polished as it was just before the race,” Mazepin said. “So I’d like to look at that in a pretty positive way.
“I think we’ve had a bit of a misunderstanding between us, and obviously going into your last lap into a pretty hectic race — which is not the first one this year, but I haven’t seen many times the race being stopped — I thought he would choose the inside line, but he chose the outside line, but when I saw he committed to it I backed out of it because in the end we’re not fighting for any points and the team result is the priority for me.
“I think we have a positive vibe in the team — it has been like that since day one, and continues to be so. And obviously with both young drivers pushing the limit you get to a point like this, but as I said, as long as the cars return in one piece, with each other, I feel that’s fine with the team boss.
“Our discussions that go on within the team I believe should stay with the team; however, if it was already brought out I would just say I apologized to him if that’s how he felt. He clearly was very upset, but I would say it is very important that he doesn’t expect to have it too easy and I’m never going to not block for whatever reason. I clearly didn’t expect him to be where he ended up being, and if he felt the way he did I said sorry because that’s what I think I should be doing. However, it wasn’t for my particular doings at that time.”