'Suddenly feel better': F1 villain roasted over nightmare debut

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Haas F1 rookie Nikita Mazepin's lap one crash at the Bahrain GP prompted one rival to mock the Russian driver on Twitter. Pictures: Getty Images
Haas F1 rookie Nikita Mazepin's lap one crash at the Bahrain GP prompted one rival to mock the Russian driver on Twitter. Pictures: Getty Images

Rookie F1 driver Nikita Mazepin is already feeling the heat after a disastrous debut at the Bahrain GP last weekend, with rivals already chiding him for his performance online.

The Russian driver, signed by Haas largely due to the substantial sponsorship backing he was able to bring to the ailing Haas F1 team, spun four times throughout the three free practice sessions and qualifying before the opening race of the season.

'ROBBED': Stunning truth behind Max Verstappen's F1 heartbreak

WILD: Daniel Ricciardo upstaged by teammate in chaotic F1 season-opener

Things didn't get much better when the lights went on either, with Mazepin barely making it three corners before getting too happy on the throttle and spearing his car into the barriers on lap one.

Mazepin has struggled to win favour among F1 fans, as well as the paddock more broadly, following an apology for a social media post in which he grabbed a female companion's breast.

While by no means a poor performer in the junior ranks, Mazepin's Formula 2 career paled in comparison to that of new teammate and fellow rookie Mick Schumacher, who won the F2 championship last year.

The 22-year-old's inauspicious debut, coupled with the circumstances surrounding his entry to F1, have left many questioning his place among the motorsport elite.

One of those questioning him was Williams reserve driver Jack Aitken, who filled in for the team during the Sakhir GP last year when fellow Williams wheelman George Russell filled in for Mercedes champion Lewis Hamilton, who had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Aitken's lone F1 appearance came at the same Bahrain circuit, albeit on a different layout, and was notable for a spin of his own on lap 60 - however he was able to finish the race in 16th place.

The British-Korean driver took to Twitter to deliver a cheeky barb at Mazepin's expense.

"Suddenly feeling a lot better about the 60 laps I managed in Sakhir before my spin," he wrote.

Aitken wasn't the only one giving the Russian driver stick online, with plenty making light of his debut effort.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Hamilton pips Verstappen in Bahrain GP

Lewis Hamilton has won the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix for Mercedes after an epic, knife-edge battle with Red Bull's Max Verstappen over the final laps.

Verstappen, who passed Hamilton with four laps to go only to have to hand back the lead for going off the track, finished a mere 0.74 seconds behind after starting on pole position.

Hamilton's team mate Valtteri Bottas was a distant third but gained a bonus point for fastest lap, while Australian Daniel Ricciardo finished seventh on his McLaren debut.

"Wow, what a difficult race that was," said Hamilton, who started second on the grid and took another of Michael Schumacher's all-time records with his 5,112nd race lap led.

"Max was all over me right at the end but I just about managed to hold him off. It was one of the hardest races I've had for a while."

Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrate on the podium after the Bahrain GP.  (Photo by LARS BARON/AFP via Getty Images)
Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrate on the podium after the Bahrain GP. (Photo by LARS BARON/AFP via Getty Images)

Verstappen appeared to have won the race after passing Hamilton around the outside of the fourth turn with just three laps remaining.

But the Dutchman was instructed by his team to give the position back to Hamilton, fearing their star driver would be penalised for running off the track.

Seven-time Formula One champion Hamilton had to negotiate the final laps on older and more worn tyres than his rival.

Towards the end, he simply told his race engineer to "leave me to it".

The win was a record-extending 96th for Hamilton, and continued his record of winning in every season since his debut with McLaren in 2007.

With AAP

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.