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How is Nikita Mazepin 21st in a 20-driver championship?

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

Written by Bruna Brito, Edited by Morgan Holiday & Aiden Hover

Replacing Finnish racing driver Kimi Raikkonen for Alfa Romeo, who tested positive for COVID-19 before the Dutch Grand Prix, Robert Kubica has raced in just two races and yet, has already overtaken the Russian driver in the standings – despite Nikita Mazepin competing in all 14 rounds of the Championship.

On and off the track, Nikita Mazepin has collected numerous controversies that will forever shroud his name. Shortly after being announced as a 2021 Haas F1 driver, Nikita posted an abhorrent video, in which he harassed and groped a female friend, to his social media. Additionally, his name recently returned to the media following statements regarding his relationship with teammate Mick Schumacher and the pairs racing conduct. However, none of these have stopped him from achieving a true feat for F1 history – placing 21st in an originally 20-place championship.

No, you are not misreading that. Right now, the Russian is in 21st position, behind Robert Kubica. Both drivers have 0 (zero) points in the standings, but due to the rules of F1, the tie-breaking criterion puts the Polish driver ahead.

Kubica has only partaken in two races this year, Zandvoort and Monza – where he finished 15th and 14th respectively. He obviously didn’t score points, but the positions that he achieved were enough to surpass Mazepin.

According to the regulations regarding tie-breaking criteria, in case the driver’s score is equal, it is the best finishing place in the races that decide championship order. If the finishing positions are equal and to the same amount and the tie is still maintained, the next criterion to be checked is their second-best place in races.

So far, Mazepin has run 14 races and has failed to score in any of them. His best position was 14th in the Azerbaijan GP, matching Kubica’s best. But, his second-best finishing position is 17th, scored in Imola, Monaco, Great Britain and Belgium. The 15th place of Kubica allows him to stay in front.

Nikita Mazepin may have a chance to take 20th place in the next race at Sochi for the Russian GP if he can prove good enough to finish higher than 14th.

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