Nikita Mazepin has revealed Haas attempted to "play a trick" to confuse rival Formula 1 teams in Russian Grand Prix practice by 'ditching high fuel' and masking its pace.
Haas is the only team yet to score a point this season and attempted to pose a false threat with low fuel running in FP1 at Mazepin's home race in Sochi.
The attempt, however, failed with Mazepin and team-mate Mick Schumacher the bottom two in each session.
"I think we as a team follow the same programme between the two cars but our side had the upper hand on pace," said Mazepin.
"Considering that we expect Saturday’s sessions being delayed or cancelled even, we felt that we needed to focus and maybe play a trick with the other teams in FP1 by using good engine modes and soft tyres.
“So we ditched the high fuel and focused on low fuel to simulate qualifying and I think the result was still realistic, unfortunately.
“I was hoping to get maybe a few cars more but nevertheless we did our best today and still have to find a bit on Saturday.”
With heavy rain forecast to play havoc with the schedule on Saturday, Mazepin conceded that while he is willing to complete both qualifying and the race on Sunday, the support events may prevent this from being an option.
“Definitely [I'm willing]," said the Russian.
"I’m not sure that will be possible because of the lower series’ races but what it is going to be, it is going to be.
"I am very happy that for my first year in F1 I have managed to do some dry running and I think it is a good time now to switch to very wet running.”
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