(GMM) Nikita Mazepin has hit back at Lewis Hamilton’s complaint that Formula 1 has become a “billionaire kids’ club”.
The seven time world champion was clearly referring to the likes of Mazepin, Lance Stroll, Nicholas Latifi and other current drivers whose fathers are all famously wealthy.
When asked about his own privilege as the son of Russian industrialist and billionaire Dmitry Mazepin, Nikita said: “Every new driver in Formula 1 has received support from sponsors.
“Some are the makers of energy drinks, one is the richest man in Mexico – these are all people who are on the grid today that we could all talk about as well.”
Mazepin has had a horror introduction to Formula 1 with a spate of on and off-track controversies, but he insists he has no personal animus with Hamilton.
“We have always had a very correct relationship,” he told sports.ru.
“We haven’t communicated much, but in the paddock everyone is very polite, so I don’t feel anything negative.”
Mazepin, 22, even thanked drivers like Lando Norris who have publicly defended the Russian from vitriolic online attacks.
“My manager, who used to work with Lando, sent me that video. I think he has also found himself in difficult situations in his career,” he said of the McLaren driver.
“During the stream, he simply disagreed with those who joined in on the hate about me. I have to say I was really happy about that – I have always had a good relationship with him.”
Mazepin says he has also received support from a couple of world champions.
“Due to covid, the F1 teams are stuck in these bubbles so I’ve actually seen and talked with very few people,” he said.
“Of the drivers I have seen, I have very good relationships with all of them. I would especially point out the older generation such as Alonso and Vettel. Very nice men.
“I remember seeing them as a child as superheroes and now I see they are very open and down to earth.”