Haas driver Nikita Mazepin responded to rumours of tension with teammate Mick Schumacher, saying that ultimately, they were both racers and raced to win.
Mazepin and Schumacher completed their rookie seasons in 2021. In addition to not having the best of seasons, they were also caught up in some off-field cold wars, with the pair’s relationship at one point taking frosty.
With both drivers renewed for 2022, they will begin the new season as teammates again. It is a fresh start for the pair, but there are talks of tensions still simmering between them.
Mazepin responded to rumours of tension with Schumacher, saying that it has gotten better with his teammate.
As quoted by Autosport, when asked if the situation was exaggerated by the media, the Russian said, “I’m not sure it was blown out of proportion.
“I think there were some difficult times when he was learning (about) me, I was learning (about) him.
“Every time I go out there, I want to be the car finishing in front and I’ve always wanted that. And I will never stop wanting that until I leave the paddock and hang my pass on a wall.
“But now it’s a very neutral relationship that doesn’t have any highs and lows, and it’s just consistent. And that’s the only way to achieve good results in this sport.”
Every man for himself
“I’m here to win races,” he continued.
“I know that probably won’t happen in the foreseeable future but the way to make it happen is to get the best car you can and to set it up in the fastest way possible. And that takes two people to do it.
“I’m sure Mick has exactly the same thoughts, ambitions and goals in his mindset, so we do what’s necessary for the team. And I actually think we always try with both sides of the garage to go a bit beyond in achieving those goals.
“Of course, you have to slightly wind down your approach, be more careful when you are fighting with a team-mate because in F1 it’s sort of really critical if anything happens between the two cars from the same team,” he concluded.