F1: Nikita Mazepin Fastest For Mercedes in Barcelona Test
How surprising is it for a team that's won every single race thus far in 2019 to have a young driver set the fastest time at the mid-season test in Barcelona?
But truth be told, given the way 20-year-old Nikita Mazepin went about things at Spain, one cannot help but sing praises about a driver that perhaps not many would have known (a great deal) about.
That said, at this point in time, it may not be entirely incorrect to state that Mercedes driver Nikita Mazepin has perhaps done what not many would've expected of a young and fairly inexperienced driver.
At a track where he was up against competitive and successful drivers that one may not have expected the Russian to challenge, let alone beat, Nikita Mazepin went at a blistering 1:15.775 at a track where numerous driving alongside him were those who've done a fair bit of racing at the home of the Spanish Grand Prix.
To that end, that Mazepin kept the others - Leclec, Albon, even Raikkonen - behind was both partly-surprising and purely admirable.
But that told, here's what's important to note about the driver in car number 21 at the scorching heat of Catalunya.
Nikita Mazepin first tested a Formula 1 car at Spain back in 2017 in a Mercedes car wherein he'd a private test.
Embracing the challenge of driving in not the friendliest of weather conditions, alongside the likes of Leclerc in his Ferrari, Raikkonen in his Alfa Romeo, and Alex Albon in the Scuderia Toro Rosso - some of the noted drivers - Nikita Mazepin ensured it would be no other but Mercedes who'd rule on a track where only recently they won the Spanish Grand Prix of 2019.
While it was interesting to find Albon setting some good lap times and briefly holding on to the second position on a day that utterly belonged to the young Russian driver, former Ferrari world champion Kimi Raikkonen could manage only the fifth-fastest time, finishing behind Leclerc, fourth on a revelatory day of testing.
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