Haas pair escape penalty after Vettel block

Andy Hone/Motorsport Images

Haas pair escape penalty after Vettel block

Formula 1

Haas pair escape penalty after Vettel block

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Both Haas drivers have escaped penalty for impeding Sebastian Vettel during qualifying at the Dutch Grand Prix, in an incident that left Nikita Mazepin fuming at teammate Mick Schumacher.

Vettel had to abort his final run in Q1 after coming across Mazepin and Schumacher squabbling over track position at the penultimate corner, leading to the Aston Martin driver being eliminated.

Mazepin was unhappy that Schumacher had overtaken him on their out-laps and then slowed so much when Vettel was approaching, but with so many cars in the vicinity the stewards stated it wasn’t deemed as unnecessary impeding by either driver.

“There is no doubt that the lap of Car 5 was compromised; however, we note in particular the comment of the driver of Car 5 that ‘there were too many cars in the one place,’” the stewards’ judgment stated. “There were at least six cars in line, preparing for a fast lap, and all of these were traveling at slow speed (some at less than 50 km/h) whereas Car 5 was approaching at up to 240 km/h.

“Although Car 5 was impeded, in the circumstances this was not ‘unnecessary impeding’ (of Article 31.5). The drivers and team representatives present, agreed.”

“I’m really annoyed, to be honest, because it should have not been that difficult with traffic, as rules within an F1 team one weekend you are the first car next weekend you are the second car,” Mazepin said. “This weekend was my turn to be the first car and I’ve once in Imola overtaken the first car when I was second and I got a bollocking from the team.

“And now this has happened to me the second time, he overtakes me and bumps me into the traffic and f***s my last attempt in quali on purpose, so I’m not happy because if you do it once and he didn’t know about it fine, but twice that’s deliberate, and I don’t like it when there’s tension, it shouldn’t be like that. I already told the team what I think and they agree.”

Schumacher explained that he had been given permission to overtake Mazepin in order to prepare his tires better and was surprised there was any uncertainty later on.

“We spoke with the team about it, I went through the pit lane, my tires were cooling down, so usually what I do is do a faster out-lap,” Schumacher explained. “In that case, Nikita was doing a slow out-lap so I requested to overtake, which I got the OK to do so, which I did. Early enough.

“I had Lando (Norris) as well between us so I don’t really understand the confusion which happened in the last corner. Obviously, that messed up a few things for everybody.”

On the discussion with the stewards, Mazepin stated Vettel showed great sportsmanship for looking at the wider issue.

“Sebastian was a true gentleman in addressing the global issue of everybody slowing down in Formula 1 at the last corner,” Mazepin said. “I apologized to him and said thank you for being honest, and I was truly grateful for his behavior in that incident.”

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