The Haas driver is a stupendously rich coaster who consistently fails upwards. In other words, a perfect embodiment of so much that is wrong with America
The classic American sports villain knows many forms. Bill Laimbeer was the Detroit Pistons’ elbow-throwing rabble-rouser. Bill Romanowski was the Denver Broncos’ late-hitting loogie spitter. Mike Tyson bit off a guy’s ear. And now there’s Nikita Mazepin, the Formula One racing driver who’s fast tracking as an all-time foil too.
Doubtless, Mazepin’s inclusion in this rogue’s gallery will strike some as harsh given that this is the 22-year-old Muscovite’s maiden season driving for Haas, the tanking backmarker representing the United States. But for those of us fans who have watched him over the past five grands prix, his early work reads like hacky Russian literature – slow and meandering. Last weekend at Monaco marked the first time he outqualified teammate Mick Schumacher – but much of that was down to Michael’s boy ringing up about a half-million dollars’ worth of damage sliding his car into a Casino Square exit barrier.