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Nikita Mazepin

Mazepin disagrees with Hamilton's 'billionaire boys' club' comments

Nikita Mazepin has played down the idea that some F1 drivers have easier access to the sport through coming from a wealthier background.

Article
To news overview © Haas F1

Nikita Mazepin has fired back at Lewis Hamilton's suggestion that Formula 1 has become a "billionaire boys' club".

The seven-times World Champion recently argued that he wouldn't be able to make it into the sport nowadays, having come from humble beginnings.

"Growing up in a normal working class family, there is no way I could be here - the guys you are fighting against have that much more money," Hamilton told Spain's AS newspaper.

"We have to work to change that to make it more accessible, for the rich and for people with more humble origins."

Mazepin - the son of a billionaire businessman - does not necessarily agree with this though. The Russian says that all F1 drivers receive some sort of financial backing as they make their way up the ranks.

"All newcomers to F1 received support from various sponsors," Mazepin told sports.ru. "Someone from the manufacturers of energy drinks, someone from the richest man in Mexico.

"These are all people who are on the starting grid in F1 today - and I could go on for a long time."

This is not the first time that Mazepin has talked about Hamilton. The Haas driver recently suggested that other drivers - including Hamilton - were not being criticised in the same way as him for breaking the so-called gentleman's agreement in qualifying.

However, Mazepin says that his relationship with the Briton is fine.

"[Hamilton and I] have always had a very correct relationship," the Formula 1 rookie explained. "We do not particularly communicate, but in the paddock everyone is very polite and friendly to each other."

Mazepin has been criticised by other drivers on more than one occasion for his on-track actions, but the 22-year-old feels he has a good relationship with most.

"Of those drivers I have come into contact with - very good relations with all of them. I'd like to note particularly the older generation - such as [Fernando] Alonso or [Sebastian] Vettel. Very nice men.

"I've been following them since my childhood, when I just started watching Formula 1, and I would imagine they were supermen, and even superheroes. But they are down-to-earth and very open-minded."

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