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Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02, Nikita Mazepin, Haas VF-21
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Special feature

The mixed fortunes of F1 2021's rookie crop

There were three rookies on the grid this year – and the going proved tricky for all of them. Yuki Tsunoda, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin have faced their fair share of struggles in 2021, and all will be hoping to improve on this year's performances next season.

“Blessed is he who expects nothing,” wrote the poet Alexander Pope, “for he shall never be disappointed.”

Two of the three drivers to make their Formula 1 debuts this season came freighted with high expectations: Yuki Tsunoda, anointed as F1’s next big thing by no less an eminence than Red Bull’s driver advisor Helmut Marko; and Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time world champion Michael, discreetly supported by Ferrari and surrounded by much of dad’s protective entourage. It’s fair to say neither of them have made an immediate impact you could describe as Ayrton Senna-like, Lewis Hamilton-like or, dare we say it, Schumacher-like.

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