Ralf wants action on ‘life-threatening’ Mazepin move

Henry Valantine
Nikita Mazepin should be punished, Ralf Schumacher

Nikita Mazepin, Haas

Ralf Schumacher believes Nikita Mazepin should face consequences for pushing team-mate Mick Schumacher up against a wall in Baku on Sunday.

Ralf’s nephew was looking to overtake his Haas team-mate on the final lap, but the Russian forced fellow rookie Schumacher up towards the edge of the Azerbaijan track to try and defend his position.

The young German ultimately beat his counterpart to the chequered flag, but the sudden change of direction prompted an understandably angry outburst from Schumacher, who said on team radio after gesturing at his team-mate: “What the f*** was that? Honestly, seriously, does he want to kill us?”

Former Williams driver Ralf believes that despite his personable nature off the track, the young Russian should be “punished urgently” for his actions.

“Mick drove really well and was one and a half laps ahead of his team mate,” Schumacher said in his Sky Sports column in Germany. “But this twitching of Mazepin during the overtaking manoeuvre is not acceptable at all.

“We are talking about speeds of over 300 kilometres per hour. That’s life-threatening. When you’re racing wheel to wheel, you can easily go flying. You can imagine what happens when 750 kilograms go flying.

“In my opinion, Mazepin should be punished urgently. He did flinch, but you have to imagine what happens in the car. Mazepin is a great young man outside the cockpit. When you talk to him, he’s extremely polite.

“But in the race, starting with lapping, where he is often in the way, he really needs to catch up. I don’t know if the stewards shouldn’t take a closer look – also in this incident.

“I find it dangerous and unacceptable. For me, this is a clear penalty. This kind of thing should not be allowed to become the norm, this twitching at 350 kilometres per hour. That is not acceptable at all.”

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While team principal Guenther Steiner insists that the two drivers have since “cleared the air” after their heart-in-mouth moment, it has since been confirmed by the FIA that they will be looking into the last-lap incident between the two Haas drivers.

Race director Michael Masi admitted it got overlooked in the heat of the moment as battles at the front raged on to the chequered flag in the two-lap sprint to the finish in Baku.

“To be fair, obviously we were looking at the front so I didn’t actually see the incident myself, so I can’t comment on it,” Masi said after the race, via RaceFans. “I’d prefer not to [comment] not having seen it.

He added that he will “have a look at it in the fresh light of day and, if necessary, I will have a chat with the team and the driver concerned.”

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