I would like to officially change my position on whether or not Nikita Mazepin deserves his Formula 1 seat. Mazepin still doesn’t deserve it, but let’s keep giving it to him anyway because he’s been nothing but hilariously and delightfully bad.
Friday saw the first two practice sessions for Sunday’s Portugese Grand Prix, and Mazepin did his thing again. His thing is finishing dead last and an eternity off pace, as he did in both sessions.
Yes, Mazepin was +4.576, or almost two seconds behind 19th; over two seconds behind his teammate, Mick Schumacher; over two-and-half seconds behind a guy who’d never raced F1 before; and over four-and-a-half seconds behind first. Surely things went better in the second practice session?
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Only slightly, as Mazepin again finished last, but this time only over a second behind his teammate.
In Formula 1's highlights from the first and second practices, the first time Mazepin appears, he’s seen failing to negotiate a turn within track limits. The second time he appears, he’s being passed by his teammate Schumacher. The third time he appears, he’s locking up his brakes at Turn 10. The final time he appears, he’s getting in the way of Sergio Pérez while Pérez was on a flying lap. And those are the extent of Mazepin’s highlights for the day.
Mazepin explained afterward that today was a success because he didn’t spin out or crash, which, to be fair, is true for a driver who spun out and crashed on his very first Formula 1 lap.
It’s tough. It’s a very fine line between you actually completing the lap and spinning and that puts you three steps backwards. In that respect, I think we had a good Friday.
Keep Mazepin around, I say. This is all too good.