Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has accused his Mercedes opposite number Toto Wolff of wishing to 'show who is in command' after complaining about Nikita Mazepin to FIA race director Michael Masi during the Spanish Grand Prix.
On lap 26, after Max Verstappen had pitted and handed the lead to Lewis Hamilton, Wolff was overtly aware his driver could not afford to lose time lapping traffic.
Mazepin was handed a five-second penalty in Portugal for ignoring blue flags and has received widespread criticism from his peers for his on-track conduct.
In a transmission broadcast on the world feed, Wolff said: "Michael, blue flags, blue flags! Michael, this guy makes us lose the position."
Asked later about the message, Steiner commented: “Nikita told me. I didn’t hear the message. They just told me in the debrief that Toto said something but I don’t know exactly why he said it because I don’t know the circumstances.
“I think Nikita did a good job to get out of it and maybe Toto being Toto just wanted to make sure that he showed who is in command here and that everybody should move when he is coming along.
“He didn’t let his guys do that work. He wanted a bit of publicity I guess.”
At the start of the race, both Mazepin and team-mate Mick Schumacher had made progress up the order but neither was able to hold their elevated position, a factor that left Steiner with mixed feelings about the weekend.
He explained: “I wouldn’t say [I was] pleased. At a race weekend like this, you will never see me pleased or happy but on the other side, we have to see the good things.
“We finished with both cars, no damage, everything was good so for sure we did some laps, they did some learning again and at the start both guys did a good job.
“Mick, I think he made up four or five positions straight away and Nikita made up, I think, two but then realised there was no point in being aggressive and damaging the car. He wanted to race to the end just to get the laps in.
“So obviously, we couldn’t fight with the Williams. We were overtaken clearly on the straights so we couldn’t do a lot.
"But all in all, we got our laps done so on that side we are happy but when you beat somebody in qualifying and then in the race you fall back, you cannot be happy.”
What do you think?
Mazepin could not drive a stick up a dogs butt....
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