“Alonso and Vettel, very nice men” – Haas rookie Nikita Mazepin has spoken on his relationship with the paddock, including drivers who have criticized him on the track like Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris.
Nikita Mazepin does not agree with Lewis Hamilton’s view that F1 has become a billionaire boys’ club. Speaking to his native sports.ru, the Haas driver is of the opinion every driver needs some sort of financial backing to get into the sport.
“Every new driver in Formula 1 has received support from sponsors. Some are the makers of energy drinks, one is the richest man in Mexico (Carlos Slim, sponsor of Sergio Perez). These are all people who are on the grid today that we could all talk about as well.
“[Hamilton and I] have always had a very correct relationship. We haven’t communicated much, but in the paddock, everyone is very polite so I don’t feel anything negative.”
Nikita Mazepin and Lando Norris have a good equation
Contrary to popular belief – mostly driven by social media and ‘keyboard warriors’ – Mazepin shares a good rapport with drivers in the paddock. He highlighted the video in which Lando Norris is seen defending the Russian for his disastrous F1 debut in Bahrain in the 2021 season-opener.
“My manager, who used to work with Lando, sent me that video. I think [Norris] has also found himself in difficult situations in his career.
“During the stream, he simply disagreed with those who joined in on the hate about me. I have to say I was really happy about that – I have always had a good relationship with him.
“Due to Covid, the F1 teams are stuck in these bubbles so I’ve actually seen and talked with very few people. Of the drivers I have seen, I have very good relationships with all of them.
“I would especially point out the older generation such as Alonso and Vettel. Very nice men. I remember seeing them as a child as superheroes and now I see they are very open and down to earth.”