In the round-up: Nikita Mazepin explained a series of problems he suffered during the United States Grand Prix weekend.
Mazepin plagued from head to toe during US Grand Prix
Nikita Mazepin suffered a particularly luckless weekend at the Circuit of the Americas. The problems began during Friday practice, when he had to pit due to a problem with his new helmet.
“I did a special edition Austin helmet,” Mazepin explained, “and I’ve been struggling a lot with Bell helmets this year, the visor. Sometimes you get a bad visor and then it has a hole in there in it, or like a small hole where the air goes in.
“So at 330kph, it does keep your right eye open, which is not ideal because it starts crying and watering, so I was just upset about that.”
The tears didn’t stop there, however. During the race he reported severe heat in the footwell of his Haas, something he previously experienced during the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“I’m also crying inside the car with how feet are burning,” he told his team on the radio. “It’s like they’re standing on something very hot. We’ll need to investigate.”
He had already been forced into the pits on the first lap when his headrest detached. Race engineer Ayao Komatsu apologised for that problem when Mazepin returned to the pits having finished the race two laps down in 17th and last position.
Alpine’s poor race was a surprise – Ocon
Alpine improved their car in practice but fell back in the race
Esteban Ocon said Alpine did not expect as hard a race as they had in Austin after improving their car during practice.
“We didn’t expect to to struggle, obviously, as much as that,” said the Alpine driver, who retired from the race with an unidentified technical problem.
“We had to fight the car quite hard through practice. But we did good improvements all the way through every session. Qualifying was not as good as what we hoped but we improved it a lot from FP1.
“And in the race a big, big struggle again. So we need to analyse and come back stronger from it.”
Ocon drew some consolation from his view that few other venues offer a similar challenger to COTA. “It’s a track on it’s own, I would say. The track is very rough in comparison to other places. It’s quite bumpy. So there’s many aspects that we will look into.”
Chadwick: second W Series win born from pressure of title defence
Jamie Chadwick secured her second W Series title at COTA, beating rival Alice Powell by 159 points to Powell’s 132 in the final race.
She said that the expectation of defending the 2019 title had pushed her to improve her racing. “I think there was pressure coming in,” she said.
“I definitely came in with the expectation, from myself but from other people as well, to be in the best position to challenge for the title again so of course there was pressure. But I felt positive, with that.
“I had the confidence from the year before and also just the feeling that this year was going to be an even more important year, so to relish the opportunity even more. I think every race, there is always a bit of expectation there but I think it kind of helped me raise my standards and I think that, combined with the fact that Alice pushed me so hard put the pressure on.”
Despite back-to-back titles – and a stint in off-road electric series Extreme E – Chadwick said her future was uncertain, currently.
“I don’t know at the moment,” she said, on what she would move on to. “The opportunity W Series gives us all – but particularly for me, as a double champion, I think is huge. So I’m going to relish that, take it in as much as I can and hopefully step forward into bigger things.”