Haas F1 rookie Nikita Mazepin has been slammed by two Brazilian commentators for being rude to a journalist at this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
In a post-qualifying interview, Mazepin was asked about the incident between him and Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi towards the end of Q1, which saw the Russian overtake the Italian driver just before the braking zone at Tamburello.
“What happened between you and Antonio [Giovinazzi] at the track?” Brazilian journalist Mariana Becker asked, to which Mazepin flatly replied: “I guess I overtook him.”
“Okay, good, thank you,” she added, before Mazepin walked away.
Reacting to this, two Brazilian F1 commentators criticised the Haas rookie for being rude.
“This shows who he really is. This shows that a driver who pays his way in, has no boss, no one to call him out and unfortunately people like this have difficulties to learn and evolve,” the lead commentator said.
“He’s going to last [in Formula One] as long as his father wants to put money in,” the co-commentator added.
“If F1 allows this, the bare minimum is that the driver has respect.”
Giovinazzi also criticised Mazepin for a lack of respect for the on-track incident and said he will have a word with him.
“Drivers respect each other on the race track, but we definitely didn’t see that today,” the Alfa Romeo driver said on Saturday.
“Mazepin destroyed my lap. This is not the kind of behaviour I expect from another driver and so I will have to speak to him,” he added.
In another post-qualifying interview, Mazepin defended himself and blamed the incident on the nature of the circuit.
“When there are only a few seconds left to cross the line for another lap, you either step on the gas or drive into the pits. I don’t see where the problem is here,” the Russian racing driver said.
“I’m here to do some quick laps. And we all live in the same world.”