Norris the latest victim as Mazepin impedes in fourth straight qualifying

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Nikita Mazepin kept his record of impeding a driver in every qualifying session alive with Lando Norris his latest victim in Spain.

The Haas driver, who was once again comfortably slowest, was given a meaningless grid drop and a second penalty point on his superlicence for the incident at the final chicane during Q1.

While Norris ultimately went on to take ninth on the grid, the Briton felt much more would have been possible without the repercussions of the Mazepin incident.

“I feel like it kind of cost me quali today,” he was quoted by RaceFans.

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“The car was good. I feel like I didn’t do a bad job. I just had one guy who held me up a lot, which meant I had to use my second set of tyres in Q1.

“When it’s split by thousandths and hundredths and tenths and stuff, you want to have the opportunity to kind of improve and you can’t make any mistakes.

“When you have something like that and you only have one set of tyres to really push on, it definitely cost us today. So it’s a bit annoying because I feel like we could have been fifth, sixth or something but it didn’t happen.”

In their report, the stewards noted the "special challenge" posed by Barcelona's final four corners but ultimately penalised Mazepin as the other drivers in the area went off track to avoid impeding the McLaren, whereas Nikita did not.

Of the four qualifying incidents the Haas driver has now been involved in, three have related to the 'gentleman's agreement' whereby drivers queuing at the end of the lap do not overtake each other.

But the Russian youngster once again questioned its worth speaking post-session.

“If I’m not mistaken, somebody asked about the gentleman’s agreement into the last corner in Bahrain,” he recalled via RaceFans. “I think that was a very prime example of that not working in Formula 1.

“I was really trying to obey it, as I was ever since I took note of it. It’s very difficult when two cars overtake you going into the last corner which is very slow and tight, where a length of a car, which is five-and-a-half metres, you just can’t put a third car there and especially if the fourth car is arriving at full speed.

“So I didn’t feel boxing up behind was an option because that would have left my rear end on the racing line. The only option was to go, which I did. Unfortunately, it’s just all these things coming together.

“I’m not upset about it because there’s really not much I could have done apart from disappearing, which unfortunately I’m not able to do.”