Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has insisted Nikita Mazepin 'needs time' to convince his doubters of his Formula 1 credentials after another lacklustre display in Spain.
After a lap one crash on his F1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Mazepin has finished last in each of the following three races and has received criticism from his driving peers, especially for his conduct in qualifying.
For his troubles so far, the Russian has received two penalty points with one for ignoring blue flags during the Portuguese Grand Prix and the other for blocking Lando Norris in qualifying last weekend.
Asked by GPFans Global if he had any words to convince Mazepin's doubters that he is deserving of his F1 seat, Steiner said: “I don’t think I want to speak to convince them. I think time will tell and you need to give people time.
“Obviously, it was another tough day for him results-wise but what was good was that he did the laps, he didn’t do anything to compromise that and this will make him learn."
Although Mick Schumacher finished only one position ahead of Mazepin in the other Haas, the German driver took the chequered flag over 49 seconds ahead.
Despite the chasm that separated his two drivers, Steiner again backed the Russian to succeed.
He added: “You’ve always got more naysayers than 'yaysayers' so I’ve actually no interest, not in speaking to them but just to justify because then that is a never-ending story. That will always be the answer to that one.
“I am always a big believer in these things. You need to keep your head down and it is not how you get down, it is how you get up so you just need some time and I wouldn’t say I avoid the questions, I don’t answer them.”
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.