‘Totally my mistake’ – Mazepin apologises to Perez for blocking him in Portugal
Nikita Mazepin has apologised to Sergio Perez for blocking him when being lapped after the pair came close to colliding during the Portuguese Grand Prix.
Haas rookie Mazepin had just exited the pits when he was given blue flags to move out of the way of Perez’s Red Bull. The Russian then turned into the apex of Turn 3 when Perez was attempting to overtake, forcing the Mexican to abandon the pass and lock up to avoid the two coming together.
The stewards reviewed the incident and opted to give Mazepin a five-second time penalty and one penalty point for his Super Licence for ignoring blue flags.
“It was very close, I thought that he saw me,” said Perez. “He apologised after the race. He basically didn’t see me. I thought he did. I thought that I damaged my front wing.”
Mazepin said that while the team didn’t warn him in time to react, he accepted the blame.
“It’s pretty simple, totally my mistake on that,” he said. “I was converted to a Plan C in the middle of the race – I was the only ones to do a two-stop – and to be honest I expected to go out on my own.
“I didn’t really get a warning from the team, but no excuses on this. It is just my fault. I apologised to Checo already.”
Perez, who briefly led the Grand Prix, went on to finish fourth in what is his best result for Red Bull so far this season – but he was frustrated at losing places first to Carlos Sainz and then Lando Norris which ultimate put him out of contention for the podium.
“At the restart, I got back past Carlos, but I lost a position out of Turn 4 to Lando,” said Perez. “I thought he was completely off the track so I didn’t defend him but that wasn’t the case so I misjudged it.
“It’s a bit of a shame, because that cost me my race. I spent many laps behind Lando, it took me a couple of laps to get through him and after that, the pace was good, but it was just a bit too late.”
He added: “I was happier today with the car but there is a good amount of work to be done for Barcelona. But from my side, I’m just getting a bit more comfortable and a bit more in the rhythm with the car.”