Mazepin was forced to take evasive action when he encountered a slow-running Hamilton in the high-speed first sector while on a flying lap in the closing stages of the third free practice session in Jeddah on Saturday morning. 

The Haas driver’s lightning-quick reactions through the blind Turn 8 prevented what could have been a huge shunt between the pair at one of the fastest points of F1’s new high-speed street venue. 

Hamilton was handed his second reprimand of the season for the incident, while his Mercedes team picked up a €25,000 fine for failing to keep the seven-time world champion properly informed about Mazepin’s whereabouts. 

Asked if he felt Hamilton had deserved a more severe penalty, Mazepin replied: “I really like Lewis and I really wish him all the best in his title fight. 

“I wouldn't want him to be penalised for something that was together with me. I'm in my first year in Formula 1, he was probably thinking about how to find a bit of lap time for qualifying. 

“If the cost was for me not to complete one of my laps in FP3, so be it.”

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Despite the terrifying nature of the incident, Mazepin shrugged it off as being “not a big deal” from his perspective. 

“I was on a fast lap going through Turns 7 and 8, which are flat in our car,” the Russian added.

“They’re all blind and I didn't know that there was a car on the racing line. I kept it flat until the moment I saw he was not going to move from it. And it's not a big deal from my side. 

“We train to have the reactions necessary to avoid these kind of situations. Lewis has been very nice and we sent each other texts about that. 

“I just hoped that he had a good qualifying and he did as always, so that's the main thing.” 

And Mazepin praised Hamilton for being considerate in his response to their close call.  

“He felt very sorry for what happened and he said it wasn't the best job done from their side,” Mazepin said. 

“It's really nice to see the experienced and older generation really paying attention to these things because in F2 you might never get a driver thinking about it. 

“Whereas in F1 a seven-time world champion is. So that's really it kind of from him.”

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Explaining his side of the incident, Hamilton said: “I was told that he was 10 seconds behind starting a lap.  

“It’s such a difficult track, you have to get the feedback all the way down to when they are four seconds behind or something like that, so you know when to get out of the way.

“There was radio silence, so I had no idea where he was and the next thing I know he’s right behind me.

“In the drivers’ briefing I did say that I think there was the potential for this so we should probably keep a minimum speed everywhere, like they did for [Turn] 22-27, but they only did it for 22-27. I apologised to Nikita.”