Haas F1 Team principal Guenther Steiner believes the racing between Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher during the French Grand Prix was fair, as discussions arose off of an overtake at Turn 4 by the Russian that saw Schumacher go off-track.
“To be honest, when it happened, I didn’t see it well,” Steiner said. “I need an overhead camera! I spoke with both of them and I think in the circumstances it was racing, but it wasn’t unfair by any means.
“In my opinion it was hard racing. Mick tried to overtake George [Russell] I think and just had to slow down because it didn’t happen, and Nikita took his chance and went inside.
“I spoke with both of them because I didn’t see the picture completely so I came to the conclusion that it was racing but it wasn’t unfair.”
Schumacher said he was surprised by the move from his teammate as he was battling with the Williams of Russell.
“I was battling with George and kind of missed the corner – I went deep into it – and Mazepin got the chance. I wasn’t expecting him to go for it but he did, unfortunately, that meant that I had to go into the escape road again and the tires were very dirty after that, and just took a bit of time to recover.
“But definitely towards the C2 stint was very good and I managed to undercut Mazepin in that case.
“Looking overall I think we had a very decent weekend. We did our first Q2 appearance, even though I didn’t drive but I got there! Obviously, we knew the race was going to be difficult, I was optimistic because I think for ourselves it’s important to always be optimistic, I think we just frankly didn’t have the pace to fight with Williams or everybody around us.
“But that just means we have to work harder, I have to work harder, and hopefully sometime soon we’ll be closer again.”
Mazepin said he capitalized on the opportunity as he says overtaking chances don’t come often while racing at the back.
“I took an opportunity when it came,” he said. “I think that’s good because the opportunities don’t come very often being at the back, unfortunately just a lack of pace at the end.
“I think starting on the alternative strategy to just try something different wasn’t the best because I think a lot of teams were caught out by the increased tire wear than we were expecting, and it’s difficult to judge the tire management being on the other set of tires.
“But nevertheless I had an opportunity early in the race, I took it, just not enough pace towards the end. Unfortunately these mediums don’t last a very long time so they were finished before the race ended.”