Nikita Mazepin has opened up about the reasons behind his emotional post-qualifying interview at the Brazilian Grand Prix, explaining that there was more to it than simply frustration about his performance.
Mazepin shed tears during television interviews immediately after qualifying 20th and last at Interlagos, having made a mistake on his final flying lap that he felt "f**cked up" Haas' chances of outpacing Williams.
Although he admitted that the error played a role in his emotions coming to the fore at the end of the session, he also revealed that internal changes at Haas across recent Grands Prix have been taking their toll.
"Racing is my life"
"It was mostly to do with the mistake on the qualifying lap," Mazepin told media, including RacingNews365.com, when asked about the situation.
"I'm going through a pretty challenging period in the last few races, not only to do with the car balance, but also with some internal things going on in the team.
"That makes the results more important at this particular moment in time. When you come so close to finishing what I felt like was a great lap in the car we currently have, and you by your own doing try too hard, and lose that lap, it hurts.
"I work quite hard with different specialists to make sure that my emotions behave correctly when I'm in the car, but when you jump out of the car, and you only have four minutes or so until you speak to journalists, and you know what could have been a different result, it just feels sad.
"There's not much else in my life other than racing. In fact, there's nothing. I put my life on the line for this and I get upset, which is natural, when things don't go well."
Further staff changes expected
Mazepin was caught up in more controversy between the Mexican and United States Grands Prix, when a video emerged on social media of him seemingly getting kicked out of a nightclub.
However, he denied that was the case during his pre-event media session in Brazil and stated that one of the team members he had invited to a farewell party for a departing engineer had been denied entry.
Given the expanding calendar, with 23 races planned for 2022, Mazepin expects more staff to move on.
"Well, the team's shuffling around, 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," he commented.
"I enjoy the environment I'm in, I've been surrounded ever since I started this year by some very great, honest people. [But] my engineer left last week to another team and he's unfortunately not the only one, so that's a challenge.
"Good people in any industry is something you want to hold onto. Unfortunately, personal relationships isn't something that in this sport can make people stay, it's the financial reasons quite a lot of the time, and, as you know, life goes on, people get families, the calendar keeps growing.
"Sport is all I do in my life, but I'm only 22 and I guess if I was 10 years older and I had kids I would make similar decisions as what they do."
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