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'Really bad': Mick Schumacher and teammate in disastrous F1 debut

Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin endured a disastrous start to life as F1 drivers at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher, pictured here during the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher endured a nightmare debut for Haas in F1. Image: Getty

Mick Schumacher was the last finisher while Haas teammate Nikita Mazepin crashed out of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on the opening lap on Sunday.

It was a disastrous start for Haas and their pair of F1 rookies as Lewis Hamilton claimed victory in a nail-biter from Max Verstappen.

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Schumacher, F2 champion and son of seven-time champion Michael, was lapped and finished 16th.

But the debut of his Russian teammate Mazepin was even worse, lasting only seconds before he spun off coming out of turn two, triggering the safety car.

The crash revived memories of a similar first lap accident at the same corner last season, when predecessor Romain Grosjean escaped from his blazing car after going into the barriers.

Mazepin escaped unhurt, but the race was paused for a Safety Car intervention for two laps.

The Russian had to be given a lift back to the pits while his car was towed away.

"Mazepin is struggling a lot," former F1 star Jolyon Palmer said in commentary.

"So many spins so far - five this weekend.

"Really, really bad start to life in F1."

The race had already been trimmed to 56 laps after Sergio Perez’s Red Bull car suffered a power failure on the formation lap, requiring him to recover and then start from the pit lane.

On the re-start, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly lost his front wing after a clash with McLaren new boy Daniel Ricciardo, while Schumacher spun off at turn four.

Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, pictured here at the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain.Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, pictured here at the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain.

Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin at the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Max Verstappen rages over Lewis Hamilton win

Hamilton went on to win the season-opening race for Mercedes after an epic, knife-edge battle with Verstappen over the final laps.

Verstappen, who passed Hamilton with four laps to go only to have to hand back the lead for going off the track, finished a mere 0.74 seconds behind after starting on pole position.

Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas was a distant third but gained a bonus point for fastest lap, while Ricciardo finished seventh on his McLaren debut.

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Verstappen appeared to have won the race after passing Hamilton around the outside of the fourth turn with just three laps remaining.

But the Dutchman was instructed by his team to give the position back to Hamilton, fearing their star driver would be penalised for running off the track.

Verstappen said he had "one shot" when he went outside the track before giving the position back.

"I tried again but my tyres were not in the right state to put the pressure on," said Verstappen.

The Dutch youngster had hoped he might be able pull far enough clear to absorb the inevitable time penalty, but Red Bull were clear on what he had to do.

"Once you have that instruction you have to move out of the way. It is tough racing, it is fair racing," said team boss Christian Horner.

"I think the biggest winner today was the fans. It sets up a great season and I hope we see more battles between Max and Lewis this season."

with agencies

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