But, at the same time, he wouldn’t want to be seen as a sore loser. In the past, Schumacher has been accused of being a showboater at times, so he drew a lot of attention to himself by kissing the trophy after only his second GP win. Schumacher responded to a question afterwards about whether he was a showboater by saying: “I am not a showboater. I am a winner.”
If you’re a Formula One fan, then you’re probably well aware of the new rivalry that has been blossoming between Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Ferrari’s driver, Mark Webber. The Mercedes driver has been getting some pretty nasty digs from the Australian over recent months, and things have heated up a whole lot more recently.
Two Haas drivers, Mick Schumacher and Valtteri Bottas, continued their feud during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend. Even when they weren’t fighting it out on track, their off-track fighting spilled over into the paddock.
ZANDVOORT, the Netherlands (AP) – After a heated incident in qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix, rookie teammates Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher spent Saturday evening taking verbal missiles at each other via the media.
When Mazepin attempted to overtake Schumacher around the final turn of the Zandvoort track directly in front of him at the conclusion of Q1, Sebastian Vettel was forced to abort his final effort. The stewards absolved the Haas drivers of wrongdoing owing to the huge accumulation of slow-moving vehicles at that part of the track, which even Vettel said rendered the collision inevitable.
Mazepin, on the other hand, remained furious, claiming that the issue with Schumacher was part of a larger problem inside the squad.
Mazepin was enraged that Schumacher had passed him on a slow lap in an effort to get better track position for a flying lap, and he was attempting to reclaim the lead at the last turn so he could attempt his own clean lap.
The Russian driver believed Schumacher had broken a team agreement that he had been warned about breaking in Imola, his second race in Formula One.
“To be honest, I’m very angry because it shouldn’t have been that tough with traffic,” Mazepin said after qualifying. “As rules inside an F1 team, one weekend you are the first vehicle, the following weekend you are the second car,” Mazepin added.
“This weekend was my turn to be the first car, and I overtook the first car when I was second in Imola and got a bollocking from the team, and now this has happened to me the second team, and he overtakes me and bumps me into traffic and f——s my last attempt in quali on purpose, so I’m not happy because if you do it once and he doesn’t know about it, fine, but twice that’s deliberate, so
“When there’s tension, I don’t like it; it shouldn’t be like that. I’ve already expressed my thoughts to the team, and they’ve agreed with me.”
After qualifying, Nikita Mazepin was enraged with Haas teammate Mick Schumacher. Getty Images/Dan Mullan
Schumacher subsequently stated that his race engineer had informed him it was OK to pass Mazepin, and that he had been having trouble warming up his tyres all weekend.
In reaction to Mazepin’s comments, Schumacher told Sky Germany, “I’m not sure what he’s talking about.” “I’m not sure whether his crew told him, but I asked if I could pass him since my tyres were cold and he normally runs a lap slower than mine.”
“I got the go ahead and passed him early enough, and then we had Lando [Norris] in the mix as well.” So there was no need in making a big deal out of it since his lap wasn’t damaged.
“I think we will debate this with the team internally, and Gunther will then remark on it.”
“However, I don’t believe we did anything illegal from my perspective.”
The drivers addressed the media again in a Teams call two hours after the incident, shortly before the stewards published their judgment on the Vettel incident.
Mazepin was the first to speak, and he reiterated his criticism of Schumacher, but he did say that he now accepts Schumacher was not attempting to intentionally obstruct his lap.
“I’m Russian, and I think we’re a straightforward people. I know my position in the team, I have a team leader, and I am more than willing to obey the rules because I believe it is important to be a team player. One day the rules will work in your favor, and the next day they will work against you.
“At the very least, it is consistent, and you are aware of your position. What I don’t like is when individuals are brazen in their pursuit of P19. It simply reveals their real character, in my opinion.”
Mazepin said that he does not believe any discussion with Schumacher would be pleasant, adding, “We’ll have a pleasant dialogue… maybe not so pleasant from the other side, I’m not sure. But we’ll simply analyze it and try to make sure we’re all on the same page.”
According to Schumacher: “I’m aware that he’s very outspoken in the press. We’ve discussed it internally, and I’m certain the team will issue a statement.”
“That’s a new experience for me since I’m accustomed to having internal team conversations rather than public debates in the press. But every driver is different, and I believe that if you have the proper flow and communication in place, everything will fall into place.”
Guenther Steiner, the team’s manager, downplayed the feud, saying he viewed it as two young drivers fighting for F1’s newest and most inexperienced team, knowing they can only defeat their colleague each weekend since the Haas 2021 vehicle is so uncompetitive.
“I believe we put a lot of effort into it,” Steiner said of Mazepin and Schumacher’s friendship. “They’re both young, and they’re both trying to show that they’re better than the other, which is one of the issues you run into when you have two rookies.”
“This issue is far less present if you have an experienced driver.” As a result, this is to be anticipated.
“I’d be unhappy if they didn’t want to beat each other and were content to finish last and second last.” On the one hand, they are both competitive, and they want to be the best. When you have two rookie drivers in a vehicle that can’t defeat any of the other cars, your relationship may suffer as a result of this.
“It’s simply part of our year this year; all we have to do now is work on it and hope we can get it to a point where it doesn’t spiral.”
“Should we have better processes in place?” Steiner said when asked whether Haas’ qualifying procedures might be improved. We have procedures in place, but you should constantly strive to maximize every opportunity, which is exactly what we did, even if it didn’t always succeed.
“I believe we need to go through this, and doing so now is much preferable than doing it next year, when we will hopefully have a better vehicle.”
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