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Steiner "surprised" by persistent Mazepin hate

Steiner "surprised" by persistent Mazepin hate

Steiner "surprised" by persistent Mazepin hate

Steiner "surprised" by persistent Mazepin hate
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has conceded he was left surprised by the persistence of the ire directed towards Nikita Mazepin during his rookie season in F1.

Russian driver Mazepin hit the headlines instantly after being handed his seat for last year when posting a video on social media at the end of 2020 where he groped a female car passenger, an act Haas at the time labelled "abhorrent".

Despite internally dealing with the situation and a public apology coming from Mazepin, the rookie was subjected to ridicule for much of his first year in F1, in stark contrast to the adoration of team-mate Mick Schumacher.

Asked by GPFans in an end of season interview how difficult the situation was to manage, Steiner replied: "I managed to stay calm.

"I talked with him about it. For him, it was clear he did something wrong, he shouldn't have done it.

"Then again, he's a young man and you need the second chance and I got over it pretty quick.

"A lot of people didn't let go, which I was surprised [about] actually because there are lots of things happening in the world and people let go pretty quick.

"They didn't let him go for a long time. I don't know why. Maybe I don't need to know.

"In the end, for sure, that wasn't a help when he started the season because there must be some distractions, especially if you are young."

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