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8 Jun, 2021 11:18

Ex-F1 ace Schumacher calls for Russian driver Mazepin to be ‘punished urgently’ for ‘life-threatening’ move that enraged teammate

Ex-F1 ace Schumacher calls for Russian driver Mazepin to be ‘punished urgently’ for ‘life-threatening’ move that enraged teammate

Ralf Schumacher, the brother of F1 legend Michael and uncle of his son, Mick, has called for Nikita Mazepin to be banned over a crash at the Baku Grand Prix that caused the German to angrily ask if his aim had been "to kill us".

Schumacher junior was attempting to overtake Haas teammate Mazepin on the final lap on Sunday, only for the Russian to force his fellow novice to the edge of the track in Azerbaijan in order to defend his position.

The 2020 Formula 2 champion eventually beat Mazepin to the final flag, but the change of direction sparked an angry outburst in which he asked: "What the f*** was that?"

"Honestly, seriously, does he want to kill us?"

Warning: video contains swearing

Uncle Ralf, who used to drive for Williams, feels Mazepin should be "punished urgently" despite his "extremely polite" off-track nature.

"Mick drove really well and was one-and-a-half laps ahead of his teammate," Ralf wrote in his Sky Sport column.

"But this twitching of Mazepin during the overtaking maneuver is not acceptable at all."

"We are talking about speeds of over 300 kilometres per hour. That’s life-threatening," Schumacher insisted.

"When you’re racing wheel to wheel, you can easily go flying. You can imagine what happens when 750 kilograms go flying.

"In my opinion, Mazepin should be punished urgently. He did flinch but you have to imagine what happens in the car.

"Mazepin is a great young man outside the cockpit. When you talk to him, he’s extremely polite," Schumacher stressed, in the newcomer's defense.

"But in the race, starting with lapping, where he is often in the way, he really needs to catch up. I don’t know if the stewards shouldn’t take a closer look – also in this incident.

"I find it dangerous and unacceptable. For me, this is a clear penalty. This kind of thing should not be allowed to become the norm, this twitching at 350 kilometres per hour. That is not acceptable at all."

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner claims that the two rookies have "cleared the air" since the incident.

Yet the FIA have also confirmed that they will be investigating the last-lap incident of a race won by Sergio Perez.

And FIA race director Michael Masi has admitted it got overlooked as battles raged at the front to a dramatic finish.

"To be fair, obviously we were looking at the front so I didn’t actually see the incident myself, so I can’t comment on it," Masi told RaceFans.

"I’d prefer not to [comment] not having seen it. I'll have a look at it in the fresh light of day and, if necessary, I will have a chat with the team and the driver concerned."

Mazepin himself has also called for punishment of his peers by demanding the likes of Perez and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton are reprimanded for breaking the "gentleman's agreement" that sees drivers resist overtaking whoever is in front on the out-lap as they prepare for their push attempt.

"No, the situation is very clear for me," Mazepin told GPFans Global when he was probed after the chaotic qualifying session at Baku, discussing the confusion over how drivers should conduct themselves in Q1, Q2 and Q3.

"But in this case, I would like to address all those people who have criticized me and ask them to critizise those people as well because if rules are rules, then they should be the same for all drivers.

"I watched the best in the sport do it like Lewis, like Checo [Perez], and I didn’t see much discussion going on there. No hard feelings but let’s choose a route we would like to go down in F1."

Despite finishing higher a place above Hamilton in 14th, the days of the 22-year-old – who earned the cruel nickname 'Mazespin' among some fans for his disastrous debut crash on the opening day of the season – could be numbered in the championship after it emerged that he could be ordered to carry out Russian military service.

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