Guenther Steiner has told Nikita Mazepin not to be a race strategist following the Russian’s complaints in Mexico.
During qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix, Mazepin asked his team if he could overtake team-mate Mick Schumacher and asked if they were “having a laugh” when they said no.
“I’m not having a laugh Nikita, if you want to make a space now make a space now,” was the reply on the team radio.
Afterwards, the Russian suggested that the rules are different for the German than they are for him as Schumacher was allowed to pass him at Zandvoort, but Steiner says that’s not the case and that things are clear.
“I think it was clear after Zandvoort, we discussed it. We said that we [on the pitwall] will look in to what is going to happen, because we see a lot more than they see,” Steiner said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“We saw that there was no point [to let him through], because even if Nikita overtakes Mick, he will be stuck behind the Williams. So there is no gain there. And then his tyre temps were okay.
“So it was just like: no, stay where you are because otherwise we take a risk, going over the finish line and having our two cars drag racing down the straight and both losing out in Turn 1.
“In the end actually it ended up better for Nikita, because Mick got in traffic in the last turns, and he didn’t. But he does not know that.”
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It was clear at the time that Haas weren’t happy with Mazepin publicly questioning their tactics over the radio, but Steiner says the Russian just got caught up in the heat of the moment.
That being said, he has told him to focus on his driving from now on and not try to intervene with the strategies set out by the team.
“We just try to do the best, because what I always tell them: guys, we see a lot more than you. So do not try to be now the race strategist or anything. Just listen,” he added.
“Obviously his reaction was, I think, in the heat of the moment, he wanted to know more. And then it was just like, no: this is what you are doing.”
There were some positives to take from the weekend for Mazepin, with him running in P11 and defending his position well early on before inevitably tumbling down to the back of the field.