Ex-F1 bad boy Nikita Mazepin wins first race two years after being Haas dumping

Formula One bad boy Nikita Mazepin is back in racing.

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine earlier last year, the sport of F1 opted to distance itself from Vladimir Putin's regime. As a result, Mazepin, or rather 'Mazespin' as he was dubbed due to his error-strewn debut racing campaign, was dumped by Haas, who were sponsored by Dmitry Mazepin, who had ties to Putin.

At the time, Mazepin was furious, claiming sport should remain a "neutral territory" when it comes to politics, a position that F1 clearly did not agree with. "We must understand that the politicisation of sports will divide not only the entire sporting and Olympic movement, but will affect all social spheres of life in the future," the 24-year-old said following his sacking last year.

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"Therefore, sports should remain neutral territory and I, as a representative of this caste, should also maintain neutrality. Some will say that it is inaction or fear to express one’s position. But in this case, for me neutrality is a position."

However, following his spell away from F1, the Russian driver has now made his racing return to motorsport in the Asian Le Mans Series, which got it's 2023/2024 calendar underway in Malaysia this weekend.

What did you make of Nikita Mazepin's win? Let us know in the comments section below.

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And whilst driving for 99 Racing at the Sepang International Circuit, Mazepin tasted victory in the LMP2 competition, which was hit by torrential rain causing the race to be shortened.

Alongside Louis Deletraz and Ahmad Al Harthy, Mazepin and his team-mates came out on top, with the race cut short by 10 minutes due to the conditions at Sepang. In claiming the win in Malaysia, the race proved to be Mazepin and Al Harthy's first wins in the LMP2 prototypes.

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Taking to Instagram following his win, Mazepin wrote: "Race Win in ALMS. Almost 1 year without driving. Super happy. #99Racing is [rocket emoji]" clearly buoyed by his racing return.

And his delight was clear for all to see, with Mazepin beaming atop the podium in Malaysia whilst being soaked by rain.

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