Nikita Mazepin has said he is surprised by the “standard of behaviour” in Formula 1 and admitted that there are some “unspoken rules” which he is still learning.
The Russian driver entered Formula 1 as public enemy number one after he groped a model in December, and he has struggled in the opening two F1 grand prix of 2021.
His debut in Bahrain lasted a matter of seconds – with him spinning and crashing into the barrier just after the opening complex of corners – and he finished the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at the back of the pack.
At Imola, he attracted criticism from Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi after he overtook the Italian as they were both starting a flying lap in Q1.
“Drivers respect each other on the race track, but we definitely didn’t see that today,” Giovinazzi said after qualifying.
“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.
Speaking after last weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Mazepin admitted he is still learning the “unspoken rules” of Formula 1 and addressed the incident with Giovinazzi.
“Over the past two weekends, this standard of behaviour has surprised me,” Mazepin said in an interview with Match TV.
“Each of us has a team, who give us the instructions to follow. On both occasions, I followed the instructions but there are some unspoken rules.
“Yes, I’m still learning. But I crossed the line two seconds before the end of the session. If I had stayed behind him, I would not have had time for another lap.
“It’s unpleasant that it happened, but here it’s every man for himself,” he concluded.