Nikita Mazepin has heaped praise on Lewis Hamilton for his response to a scary blocking incident in final practice for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Mazepin encountered a dawdling Mercedes through the blind-apexed, flat-out turn seven-eight sweep at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, with only the Russian's reflexes averting what could have been a catastrophic incident.
Assessing what unfolded, Mazepin explained: "I was on a fast lap and I was going through turns seven and eight which are flat in our car.
"They are all blind and I didn't know there was a car on the racing line so I kept it flat until a moment I saw he was not going to move from it.
"Not a big deal from my side, we train to have the reactions necessary to deal with these situations and Lewis has been very nice.
"We have sent each other texts about that. I just hoped he had a good qualifying and he did as always.
"He felt very sorry for what happened and said it wasn't the best job done from their side.
"It is very nice to see experience in the older generation and really paying attention to these things because in F2, you might never get a driver thinking about it whereas in F1, a seven-time world champion is.
"That is really kind from him."
Hamilton was handed only a reprimand for his driving standards and asked if he agreed with that judgement, Mazepin - who has been involved in numerous blocking cases himself in his rookie year - replied: "I really like Lewis and I really wish him all the best I can in his title fight.
"I wouldn't want him to be penalised for something that was together with me. I am in my first year in Formula 1, he was probably focusing on his steering wheel adjusters and thinking he had to find a bit of lap time for qualifying.
"If the cost was for me to not complete one of my laps in FP3, so be it."
Mazepin - Engineers 'aren't robots'
Mercedes was also fined as a team for their failure to warn Hamilton of faster cars approaching behind.
But Mazepin was quick to take away any blame from the race engineers given the complexity of their roles within the team.
On his reaction to the incident, he said: "Instantly, you have maybe one or two swear words come out because we really put everything on that line for that lap and it doesn't come along.
"But I have had a lot of experience in this and here you don't have a lot of chance to look in your mirrors, you rely on your engineers.
"An engineer is not a robot, he is a human and he has got so many jobs to do as well as where you are on track.
"Sometimes, he doesn't tell you at the right moment that somebody is coming at a speed of 250kph.
"The people, as engineers, really don't deserve the criticism for it and in my case, I was always happy to take the blame."