Nikita Mazepin has revealed an individual error in qualifying was behind his close-to-tears interview as the Russian has struggled to come to terms with behind-the-scenes changes at Haas.
It has been a tough rookie F1 season for Mazepin, fuelled off-track initially by an inappropriate video post of him groping a female friend days after his appointment, with the 22-year-old bottom of the drivers' standings with a best result of 14th.
After posting the slowest time in qualifying on Friday for the São Paulo Grand Prix, Mazepin was viewed with tears welling in his eyes as he spoke post-event.
Explaining why he was so emotional, Mazepin said: “It was mostly to do with the mistake on the qualifying lap.
"I am going through a challenging period in the last few races, not only to do with the car balance but also to do with some internal things going on in the team.
“That makes the results more important at this particular moment in time and when you come so close to finishing what I felt was a great lap in the car that we currently have and you, by your own doing and trying too hard, lose that lap, it hurts."
Mazepin facing internal upheaval at Haas
Explaining he has worked with "different specialists" to keep his emotions in check in the cockpit, Mazepin added: "When you jump out of the car and you only have four minutes or so before you speak to journalists that ask you questions that ultimately bring back those memories and you know what could have been a different result, it just feels sad.
“There is not much else in my life besides racing. In fact, there is nothing else, so I put my life on the line for this and I get upset which is natural when things don’t go well.”
Mazepin’s race engineer, Dominic Haines, has recently returned from paternity leave with chief engineer Ayao Komatsu substituting during this time, a change he has also struggled with.
“The team is shuffling around," said Mazepin. "People were coming and going in the last few races and I know that not everybody that is around me this year is planning to stay for next year.
“I enjoy the environment that I am in. I have been surrounded ever since I started this year by some very great, honest people.
"Unfortunately, though, my engineer left last week to another team and he is not the only one. That is a challenge.”
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