Mazepin: F1's qualifying no-overtaking etiquette is flawed

Nikita Mazepin says Formula 1’s gentleman’s agreement about qualifying car order doesn’t work, after he was handed a three-place grid penalty at the Spanish Grand Prix for blocking Lando Norris.

Mazepin: F1's qualifying no-overtaking etiquette is flawed

The Russian was caught up in a bunch of slow cars ready to start their qualifying laps in Q1 at Barcelona, when Norris's fast-approaching McLaren came up behind them to finish a quick lap.

While drivers are supposed to stay in order prior to starting timed laps, Mazepin had found himself jumped by both Kimi Raikkonen and Yuki Tsunoda – who were finishing timed laps and also wanted to get out of Norris’ way.

Mazepin felt that it would have been dangerous to follow etiquette and hold his place behind them to let Norris through, so elected to push on and start his lap.

This meant Norris lost valuable time stuck behind the Haas driver for the run through the final corner, which forced him to run again to be sure of progressing to Q2 - a knock-on effect that would also hamper his Q3 prospects.

A stewards’ investigation determined that Mazepin could have waited longer and slotted in behind Norris, resulting a three-place grid penalty and a point on his licence.

Reflecting on the incident, Mazepin reckoned that the agreement between drivers about keeping in order ahead of the start of laps was flawed.

Speaking on a video call with media about what happened, Mazepin said: “Well, if I'm not mistaken, somebody from this call previously was asking about the drivers gentlemen's agreement into the last corner in Bahrain. I think it was a very prime example of that not sort of working in Formula 1.

Nikita Mazepin, Haas VF-21, Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing C41

Nikita Mazepin, Haas VF-21, Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing C41

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“I was really trying to keep to it, ever since I took note of it, but it is very difficult when two cars overtake you going into last corner, which is very slow and tight.

“With the length of a car, which is two and a half metres, you just cannot put a third car there, and especially if the fourth car is arriving at full speed. So, I didn't feel like boxing up behind was an option, because that would have left my rear end on the racing line.

“The only option was to go, which I did. And yeah, unfortunately, it's just all these things coming together.

“I'm not upset about it, because there's really not much I could have done, apart from, you know, disappear. Which unfortunately I'm not yet able to do."

Mazepin’s grid penalty will make no difference to his starting position as he qualified 20th.

shares
comments

Related video

Ricciardo more confident in McLaren F1 car after "mini breakthrough"

Previous article

Ricciardo more confident in McLaren F1 car after "mini breakthrough"

Next article

Hamilton: 100th F1 pole "feels like one of the first"

Hamilton: 100th F1 pole "feels like one of the first"
Load comments
The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1 Plus

The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1

OPINION: The French Grand Prix offered a surprisingly interesting spectacle, despite the headache-inducing nature of the circuit. But IndyCar's Road America race offered far more in terms of action - and the increased jeopardy at the Elkhart Lake venue might be something Paul Ricard needs in future...

French Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

French Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The French GP was a weekend decided by tiny margins both at the front of the field, as Red Bull inflicted a comeback defeat on Mercedes, and in the battle for the minor points places. That's reflected in our driver ratings, where several drivers came close to a maximum score

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes Plus

How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes

The French GP has been a stronghold for Mercedes since Paul Ricard's return to the calendar in 2018. But that all changed on Sunday, as a clever two-stop strategy guided Red Bull's Max Verstappen to make a race-winning pass on the penultimate lap - for once leaving Mercedes to experience the pain of late defeat it has so often inflicted on Red Bull

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push Plus

The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push

The age of the high-profile title sponsor is over, says JONATHAN NOBLE, but Formula 1’s commitment to technological innovation is attracting high-tech partners

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2021
How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era Plus

How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era

The 1956 Italian Grand Prix was over for Juan Manuel Fangio, along with his hopes of winning the world championship – until his Ferrari team-mate (and title rival) voluntarily surrendered his own car so Fangio could continue. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls Peter Collins, a remarkable sportsman

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France Plus

The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Plus

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Plus

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021