Nikita Mazepin is building a reputation he would rather forget after a difficult start to life in Formula One. The Haas driver heads into the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix with a point to prove. Let’s look at how he’ll do.
It has also seen Mazepin, son of billionaire Dmitry Mazepin who sponsors Haas through his company Uralkali, finishing last at each of the past three rounds and being comprehensively beaten by Schumacher.
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Nikita Mazepin’s season so far
Mazepin’s Formula One career got off to a rocky start with a spin in pre-season testing at Bahrain, and failed to improve when racing began with offs in practice and qualifying before a race-ending crash on the Sunday.
Further spins would follow at Imola, plus in Portugal and Spain, where he finished the races last well behind teammate Schumacher.
Mazepin is also yet to out-qualify Schumacher, having ended each qualifying session last of those to set a time. His closest finish to the German so far came in Portugal when he was four-tenths off the pace.
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Mazepin’s previous Monaco visits
Mazepin raced at Monaco twice during the 2019 Formula Two season, claiming points in both the Feature and Sprint Races with 10th and eighth place finishes respectively.
The Moscow native qualified for the Feature Race in 12th place before gaining one spot on track and another after a post-race penalty disqualified Luca Ghiotto from the results.
Mazepin then gained two positions in the shorter Sprint Race to claim the last of the points in eighth place, for his joint-best result of the season.
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Mazepin’s street track experiences
As well as racing around Monte Carlo during his Formula Two career, Mazepin also gained experience of street tracks at Baku for the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which returns to the calendar this June after coronavirus forced the cancellation of the 2020 event.
Mazepin qualified 15th for the Feature Race with a lap time two seconds off the pace of pole man Nobuharu Matsushita, but gained seven places to finish eighth after three safety car periods.
Finishing in eighth gave Mazepin reverse grid pole for the Sprint Race but he lost places from the start to Sean Gelael and Juan Manuel Correa.
Latifi then found his way past after a safety car restart and drivers continued to flood past the Russian before contact with Jordan King ended his race on lap 12.