Seven-times Formula One world champion and F1 2021 drivers championship contender Lewis Hamilton was involved in an incident with Haas driver Nikita Mazepin during the third practice session of the ongoing Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2021 at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
Mazepin was forced to go off the track on his high-speed lap during the final practice session after closing on with Mercedes’ Hamilton on his slow lap at the blind left-hander on Turn 8. However, Hamilton went on to clinch his 103rd career pole later during Saturday’s qualifying session and is set to start Sunday’s race ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Meanwhile, after the qualifying session, speaking about the FP3 incident where he had to show quick reflex and awareness to avoid a big accident, Haas rookie Nikita Mazepin expressed that the incident wasn’t a big deal from his side, while also revealing he received an apology from the reigning world champion. As reported by Autosport, Mazepin said, “He felt very sorry for what happened, and he said it wasn’t the best job done from their side,” Mazepin said. It’s really nice to see the experienced and older generation really paying attention to these things. In F2 you might never get a driver thinking about it, wherein F1, the seven-time world champion is. So that’s really kind from him”. Mazepin further went on to add that he wouldn’t have wanted a big accident to happen as it would have impacted Hamilton’s chances for his eighth world title. Hamilton sits second in the F1 2021 Drivers Championship ahead of the Saudi Arabia GP behind the championship leader Max Verstappen. Verstappen leads the standings with 351.5 points to his name while Hamilton follows with 343.5 points. Having clinched pole position during Saturday’s qualifying after a last-lap crash saw Verstappen ruin his final flying lap, Hamilton spoke about the FP3 incident and said he had no idea where Mazepin was.
As per Autosport, Hamilton said, “Yesterday in the drivers’ briefing I did say that I think there was a potential for this, so we should probably keep a minimum speed everywhere like they did for [Turns] 22 to 27 I think it was. But they only did it for 22 to 27. I apologized to Nikita.”