Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said he gifted driver Nikita Mazepin a spinning toy to show the Russian’s lighter side, amidst a lot of negative reaction on social media.
Mazepin has been at the centre of many social media jokes, with the rookie often spinning during race weekends, earning him the nickname ‘MazeSpin’.
Steiner, as part of a humorous gesture to show Mazepin’s lighter side, gifted the 22-year-old a spinning top toy branded with his own logo and told him: “It’s the Mazespin game. You spin this one, it is better than spinning the car!”
Mazepin looked confused before laughing off the joke and even posted a post to Twitter showing him playing with the toy.
“I think it was decided to be a little bit funnier,” explained Steiner. “He was not uncomfortable [about it]. He was pretty happy. You know, there is a happy Nikita Mazepin as well.
“He’s not this unhappy kid you all think he is, this miserable young man. He’s got a good sense of humour, you know?
“It seems to be always everything on social media about Nikita is about bad things, so there can be also good things, you know? We try to use it to our advantage, and get away from the naysayers.”