Nikita Mazepin has said his near miss with Antonio Giovinazzi was due to him wanting to experience what F1 cars are like when following each other.
The Haas rookie was back in the VF-21 on Saturday morning and almost saw his session come to an abrupt end when he employed ‘race mode’ and started to challenge Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi from the exit of Turn 1.
Mazepin eventually backed out of the move but, in doing so, almost lost the rear of the car until he corrected himself out of a spin.
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 13, 2021
“It’s a known topic that Formula 1 cars have a lot of downforce and do lose a lot of downforce following other cars,” Mazepin told Autosport when asked about the incident with Giovinazzi.
“With such limited running and obviously a lot of cars being most likely in front of me at the start of the race in Bahrain, I wanted to experience the amount of downforce that I will lose.
“I did get to experience that. I almost crashed, to be honest, because the wind snap was huge. It was a bit of a worrying moment, but good to try.
“Antonio was on a lower fuel run, and was doing, you know, not consecutive laps, when I was going through the whole race distance, and my pace was slower. So he overtook me.
“I wanted to stay behind and learn my way through.”
As for what he learned during this high-risk experience, Mazepin said: “Currently, I think there’s a very big difference [in downforce lost], but it’s not a surprise to me.”
“F2 does have a lot of downforce as well. It’s a heavier car. So there are small gains here and there.
“But it’s not the new thing to me, because races are more difficult.”
Mazepin handed the car over to Mick Schumacher for the Saturday afternoon session and is due back in the car himself on Sunday for the final four hours of pre-season testing.