Nikita Mazepin has criticised Formula 1 for being "double-faced" in light of what he sees as double standards over the so-called 'gentleman's agreement'.
The Russian came under fire for appearing to ignore this unofficial understanding - that drivers should not overtake other cars that are in the final sector of an out-lap in qualifying - during his first weekends in F1, and also received backlash for impeding other drivers.
Given that there have been other incidents like this - such as that involving Sebastian Vettel during qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, with the German receiving a penalty for holding up Fernando Alonso in Q2 - Mazepin feels that more experienced drivers are not being subjected to the same level of criticism as him for the same offence.
"Everyone’s made a big deal out of it at a point where I didn’t know very much about the qualifying itself in Formula 1," Mazepin told RacingNews365.com and other select media about the backlash he received for breaking the 'gentleman's agreement' during his first Grand Prix weekend.
"It was my first ever one and also I have never raced in a category where that was applied or discussed. And as a newcomer into Formula 1, that does not get discussed in a drivers’ briefing or in any other meeting with drivers included.
"But I just think that F1 is a very double-faced world, and if you’ve got a big name under you with loads of championships on your belt, your actions are less criticised than if you don’t.
"In the drivers’ briefing our race director has made new rules, saying that you have to make your track position in Turn 8 and you’re not allowed to back up in Turn 9 and 10, which means that you have to keep up the speed into those two corners.
"What I’ve seen happened in Q2, and the incident [between Alonso and Vettel], is the exact opposite. Every driver is human, they can get caught out. And they’ve been caught out. Everyone just needs to apply the same rules to each other and then it will be a happy place."
This is not the first time that Mazepin has been criticial of what he believes to be double standards in Formula 1. The Haas driver previously claimed that the likes of Lewis Hamilton were not being subjected to the same sort of criticism as him following qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.