Haas driver Nikita Mazepin was “very angry with myself” after a spin and crash on the opening lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix turned his F1 debut into “one of the worst days of my life probably”.
Mazepin started the race in 19th after two spins in qualifying, the latter of which was put down to a brake-by-wire issue.
Sergio Perez’s formation lap stoppage promoted him to 18th but he lost ground while trying to avoid the Williams of Nicholas Latifi and his Haas team-mate Mick Schumacher through Turn 1, and then spun getting on the throttle on the kerb exiting Turn 2.
But though team-mate Schumacher spun on throttle at Turn 4 in a very similar-looking incident a few laps later, Mazepin made it clear that there was no underlying technical issue on his end and that the crash was “totally my fault”.
Safety Car is out after Mazepin hits the barriers on the opening lap! 💥
He is out of the car and unharmed 👍#BahrainGP 🇧🇭 #F1 pic.twitter.com/Q4MJILmXct
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 28, 2021
“I’m very sorry for the team, ’cause they deserved to do much better than that,” Mazepin said. “Very angry with myself. Very sorry for the team.
“The start was quite good, I got into Turn 1 taking the outside line, which then goes into Turn 2 which becomes an inside line.
“On the outside of Turn 2 Mick was very close, ’cause he was on the faster trajectory. I was very focused on making sure we don’t make contact, and then got on the kerb, and took too much throttle and lost the car. And there was no way to catch it back.
“Extremely disappointed, and the team really deserved much better. It’s one of those really bad days.”
The Russian racer admitted this was “totally not” the way he wanted his first race to go.
“But I’m a human, unfortunately I make mistakes.
“Right now, standing here, other than having one of my worst days of my life probably, not much else I can say.”