Nicholas Latifi and Lance Stroll are being ridiculed on F1 social media after their awkward collision during qualifying in Melbourne, with one joking that they make Nikita Mazepin look like Ayrton Senna.
It was a busy Saturday for Stroll in Australia as he crashed at Turn 11 in the third free practice session, giving his team an extensive repair job along with team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who had crashed at Turn 10 earlier.
The mechanics did an excellent job of getting Stroll’s car fixed in time after he had ripped off the left front corner but, moments after he had been sent out onto the circuit, he made contact with the Williams of Latifi.
The Williams driver was trying to get past his Canadian compatriot after they had exited Turn Five, but Stroll moved across having not seen Latifi alongside him, and it led to a dramatic collision with the barrier for the 26-year-old.
Both drivers have come under criticism since their respective careers began due to their status as “pay drivers,” and three crashes in the last two race weekends will not have aided Latifi’s cause.
As a result of their tangle, one fan hilariously suggested they make former Haas driver Mazepin look like one of the greats after his woeful season in 2021.
“I swear these guys make Mazepin look like Senna,” they tweeted.
Another user insinuated that Latifi’s undignifying incidents of late – including the title-influencing crash in Abu Dhabi last year – are beginning to put him on the same level as the Russian, who was sacked amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“I didn’t think anyone could be more of an embarrassment to F1 than Mazepin, but Latifi is stepping up to that ignominious title this season…as he did towards the end of 2021,” was their reply.
However, a riposte to that particular comment came in the sense that Stroll simply was not looking in his mirrors, and therefore was to blame.
“I’m all for blaming Latifi when he’s f****** up but this was clearly on Stroll. Guy has zero situational awareness, never checking his mirrors. This isn’t the first time either,” read a reply.
Mazepin’s off-track antiques in recent years – which include a disturbing groping video and an ill-timed COVID-19 joke – mean that he has not endeared himself to fans.
But even those with an avid distaste for him might agree that the incident in Melbourne made him look good despite his dreadful debut season last year.
“As much as I dislike Mazepin, you have a point,” said another fan.
Stroll was found to be at fault for incident due to a “lack of situational awareness,” and the stewards have therefore handed him a three-place grid penalty – but he will still start the race 19th due to Alex Albon’s disqualification – as well as two penalty points.