Nikita Mazepin admitted he “beefed it” when he went off during a “challenging” day of practice for the Dutch Grand Prix but remains hopeful his Haas team can get the better of rivals Williams this weekend.
Mazepin lost the rear of his VF-21 on entry into the fast right-left kink of turns 11 and 12, going on to beach the car in the gravel.
“Overall, it was quite a challenging day," said Mazepin. "I was happy with the car in FP1, then we made some changes that didn’t quite do what we expected.
"I beefed it, but I think that you have to do it sometimes. It’s been a while since I made an excursion with some gravel.
"So now I know what the Dutch gravel feels like. Loads learned and looking forward to getting out there in FP3."
Despite the off, Mazepin finished ahead of Williams' George Russell while his team-mate Mick Schumacher also ended up ahead of the second Williams of Nicholas Latifi.
“I was a bit surprised [that we were faster than Williams],” Mazepin said. “I think we realise this year they always leave something spare in their pocket. We do as well but probably not as much.”
Schumacher and Mazepin enjoy Zandvoort “rollercoaster”
Mazepin said the undulating circuit was “more fun than I expected”. He added: “The first time I passed on the last corner, the banking, I experienced something very different with my body and it actually felt quite cool.”
Fellow rookie Schumacher, likewise, was thrilled to drive the seaside circuit, which is back on the calendar this year after a 36-year absence.
“I think the word rollercoaster really fits," said Schumacher.
“We had a decent day, still lots to learn about this new track but the same for everyone. We still need to tweak it a bit to get everything out of it, but we are on a good road.
“Things might look a bit different tomorrow, but for today we can be very happy. We still have some margin and will find a few tenths here and there.”