Mazepin was left holding back tears on Friday evening in Brazil after ruing a mistake he believes stopped him from achieving what could have been his best qualifying result yet in F1.

The Russian ended up slowest of all in 20th after making an error on his final lap of Q1. Mazepin was convinced he had the pace to out-qualify teammate Mick Schumacher and potentially even challenge George Russell’s Williams. 

“What a f****** idiot I am,” Mazepin reported over team radio on his in-lap after the session. 

After being told by race engineer Dominic Haines not to “beat yourself up about it”, Mazepin said: “Why do I try too f****** hard when I don’t have to?”.

Following Saturday’s sprint race at Interlagos, Mazepin fully opened up as to why he got so upset, revealing a number of internal changes are taking place at the American squad. 

“It was mostly to do with the mistake on the qualifying lap, where 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,” Mazepin said. 

“That makes the results more important at this particular moment in time. And when you come so close to finish like what I felt was a great lap in the car we currently have, and by your own doing try to hard, and lose that lap, it hurts.

“I work quite hard with different specialists to make sure my emotions behave correctly in the car, but when you have only four minutes or so after jumping out of the car until you speak to journalists who ask you questions that bring back those memories and you know what could have been it just feels sad. 

“There’s not much else in my life other than racing. In fact, there’s nothing. So I put myself on the line for this and I get upset, which is natural when things don’t go well.”

In the days following last weekend’s Mexico City Grand Prix, footage emerged on social media appearing to show Mazepin confronting bouncers during a night out. 

Ahead of the weekend in Brazil, Mazepin explained he was simply clearing up a situation after one of his team members was refused entry to a farewell party for one of his departing engineers. 

Mazepin said he understands why some of his team are deciding to prioritise family life amid the demands of an increasingly-expanding F1 calendar, with a record 23 races planned for next season. 

“Well, as you know the team shuffling around, people were coming and going in last few races and I know not everybody that is around me this year are planning to stay for next year,” he added. 

“I enjoy the environment I’m in, I’ve been surrounded by some very great honest people, my engineer left last week to another team and he’s unfortunately not the only one. That’s the 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 times, and as you know life goes on, people get families, the calendar ever gets growing.

“Unfortunately, they are right in that respect that families should come first. 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.”