Nikita Mazepin explained that his emotional reaction to qualifying at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix was caused by recent departures from Haas.
The rookie was on a good lap on his final run in Q1 on Friday when an error saw him lose time and end up 20th in the session, leaving him visibly upset when answering media questions after getting out of the car. Following a solid run in the sprint, Mazepin outlined why he had been crying during his interviews, and stated it was a combination of factors including the team situation.
“It was mostly to do with the mistake on the qualifying lap, where I’m going through a pretty challenging period in the last few races, not only to do with the car balance but also with some internal things going on in the team,” Mazepin said. “That makes the results more important at this particular moment in time. And when you come so close to finish like what I felt was a great lap in the car we currently have, and by your own doing try to hard, and lose that lap, it hurts.
“I work quite hard with different specialists to make sure my emotions behave correctly in the car, but when you have only four minutes or so after jumping out of the car until you speak to journalists who ask you questions that bring back those memories and you know what could have been it just feels sad. There’s not much else in my life other than racing. In fact, there’s nothing. So I put myself on the line for this and I get upset, which is natural when things don’t go well.”
Mazepin’s race engineer was on paternity leave for two races before returning recently, and the Russian admits he understands why some team members are deciding to prioritize family life after the end of this season.
“Well, as you know the team shuffling around, people were coming and going in last few races and I know not everybody that is around me this year are planning to stay for next year. I enjoy the environment I’m in, I’ve been surrounded by some very great honest people, my engineer left last week to another team and he’s unfortunately not the only one. That’s the challenge.
“Good people in any industry is… something you want to hold onto. Unfortunately, personal relationships isn’t something that in this sport can make people stay, it’s the financial reasons quite a lot of the times, and as you know life goes on, people get families, the calendar ever gets growing.
“Unfortunately, they are right in that respect that families should come first. Sport is all I do in my life but I’m only 22 and I guess if I was 10 years older and I had kids I would make similar decisions as what they do.”