Formula 1: Nikita Mazepin made this huge mistake in qualifying

Nikita Mazepin, Haas, Formula 1 (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)
Nikita Mazepin, Haas, Formula 1 (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images) /

Nikita Mazepin’s first Formula 1 qualifying session was nothing shy of a disaster, but one mistake stands above the rest when it comes to everybody else.

Nikita Mazepin participated in his first career Formula 1 qualifying session on Sunday at Bahrain International Circuit for the 2021 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, and it was a session to forget for the 22-year-old Russian.

He qualified in 20th place, last on the grid, with a lap time that was nowhere near that of teammate Mick Schumacher around the 15-turn, 3.363-mile (5.412-kilometer) road course in Sakhir, Bahrain. The difference between the two rookies was 0.824 seconds.

Of course, it was expected that Haas would struggle. Let’s give the 22-year-old Russian some benefit of the doubt. But “struggle” is putting it nicely for Mazepin’s first qualifying experience.

His exit following the first of three rounds of knockout qualifying came after two separate spins.

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The first came in turn 13 before he had even completed a lap at full speed. That directly impacted the lap of his teammate.

Then at the end of the session, he spun out again in turn one, and that prevented a number of drivers from having a chance to better their lap times to potentially advance to the second round, most notably Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel. However, it’s not the fact that he spun out that had many upset.

Sure, Twitter loved it — Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft even picked up on the “Mazespin” nickname — but it was implied that that would be the case based on the tumultuous offseason experienced by the rookie.

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What irritated many was how Mazepin put himself in a position to spin out at the end of the round, which violated the unwritten “gentlemen’s agreement” involving passing cars on the final sector of their out laps.

This compromised those who actually had a chance to advance because of the fact that they had to back off, affecting their tire temperatures. The fact that Mazepin ended up spinning out just made things worse, effectively eliminating the possibility of them bettering their previous top lap times.

Here is what he had to say about the matter after qualifying.

"“To be very honest, I have never heard of this agreement before. However, I will take notice from now on.”"

Again, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. He probably hasn’t. And there are probably many other things he hasn’t heard of as a rookie.

But hopefully he does take notice from this point forward, because with Haas having no plans to develop their VF-21 throughout the season, he will likely continue to be an obstacle for 18 other drivers during qualifying in the hopes of securing a 19th place grid position ahead of his teammate.

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The Bahrain Grand Prix is set to be broadcast live on ESPN from Bahrain International Circuit beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET this morning.