Nikita Mazepin’s difficult start to life in Formula One continued as he was hit with a three-place grid penalty for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix.
During Q1, Lando Norris was on a quick lap when he came across a pile of traffic heading into the final chicane. While the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen and AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda got out of the way, Norris was baulked by the Russian and lost quite a lot of time in the last few corners.
As well as the grid penalty [he stays P20], Mazepin had a penalty point added to his licence.
Read how they came to the decision below:
“The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 9 (Nikita Mazepin), the driver of car 4 (Lando Norris) and team representatives and reviewed multiple angles of video evidence, telemetry and team radio.
“During the Qualifying 1 session, Mazepin was setting up for a fast lap. As he approached Turns 10 and 11, Mazepin was informed that Norris was closing on a fast lap behind him and was informed of the closing gap all the way through to the incident.
“Mazepin then slowed to maintain the gap to Schumacher ahead of him with both setting up for their fast laps. Between Turn 13 and 14, Raikkonen and Tsunoda, who were coming into the pits, jumped ahead of Mazepin. Both cars had also been informed of the fast-closing Norris, and it is clear that they did this to get out of Norris’ way. However, this created a difficult situation for Mazepin.
“The Stewards determined that having been clearly informed of Norris’ whereabouts, Mazepin’s decision to pull out and re-pass Raikkonen and Tsunoda clearly impeded Norris, who lost significant time.
“The Stewards recognize that this sequence of corners creates a special challenge to the drivers in qualifying and that Mazepin was faced with a difficult situation. This was also pointed out by Norris in the hearing. However, had Mazepin waited for Norris to pass, he could have pulled out and followed Norris and the Stewards determined this opportunity was available to him without significantly compromising his next lap.
“The Stewards therefore order the usual penalty for “unnecessary impeding” of a three-grid place drop and a single penalty point.”
Talking with selected media after qualifying, including MotorLat, Mazepin spoke about his qualifying session where he ended up last and almost 0.7s off his teammate Mick Schumacher.
''[It was] a clean qualifying, that was only my second one. I was able to get the tyres in and no traffic issues on my push lap which was good,’’ he said.
''In terms of the car and the pace, I don’t really feel comfortable. That gives us plenty to look for tonight.’’