Mazepin blames brake-by-wire issue for spin-filled qualifying debut


Nikita Mazepin’s first qualifying session in Formula 1 is likely not one he’ll look back on fondly, with the Haas driver twice spinning in Bahrain – the second time as several drivers started their crucial final runs in Q1.

The Russian driver, who will line up at the rear of the field in P20 for his debut Grand Prix, said afterwards that a brake-by-wire issue had been to blame for his pirouettes.

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“I had an issue with brake by wire. I locked up on the rears, I’m not sure why, at Turn 1,” he explained. “The pedal just went long. We need to look into that. Something that I didn’t really expect and shouldn’t happen. I’ve never had it driving in the test before or free practice. Hopefully that won’t happen tomorrow.”

Mazepin added that he’d been unaware of any ‘gentleman’s agreement’ for holding position on the back straight as the drivers prepared for their final runs, after he passed the likes of Sebastian Vettel before spinning in front of the German and inadvertently harming his chances of improving.

“Coming into that last corner my team had told me… first of all I was working on trying to sort the brake-by-wire issue, because it’s an electrical issue which can be sorted by steering wheel, which it wasn’t,” he explained.

Nikita Mazepin blames brake issues for Bahrain GP qualifying struggles

“They said just to try it out. Plus, if you would have noticed, I was held for a long time on the weighbridge, so I lost loads of time. My team told me there is not enough time to cross the start finish line if I don’t go now. So I’m obviously the team’s driver, I’m doing as instructed and the instructions were to push – I pushed. And to be very honest, I’ve never heard about this agreement before, however I will take notice from now on.”

READ MORE: Verstappen takes pole for 2021 season opener after outpacing Mercedes in Bahrain

Mick Schumacher will start directly in front of Mazepin in P19, having finished seven tenths clear of the Russian as he got his first qualifying session under his belt. The German said he was “95% happy” with his lap and that he’d “enjoyed the experience a lot”, while Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner emphasised the session had been a learning experience for his two young chargers.

“All-in-all the result doesn’t look great, but the guys now have their first qualifying under their belt,” he mused. “They experienced about all the issues you can have in qualifying – not least both of them getting stopped on the weighbridge, that was a new one for us. At least they know how do to that now.”

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