The pair, who have not won a point for their team this season, have crashed into each other more than once in 2021 – the most recent incident coming at the Italian Grand Prix. Steiner concedes their relationship is tense but says the rivalry has been “exaggerated”.
“I don’t think it’s personal, I think it’s circumstances,” he said, via Planet F1. “As I continue to say, we are fighting with nobody else, therefore this is exaggerated, this fight, because there is nobody else to fight.
“If you were in the mix with another three or four cars then you wouldn’t see this, because if you do these moves to not your teammate or you race hard with not your teammate then it doesn’t make a difference, but if it’s with your teammate then it’s almost personal.
“That seems to be in my opinion one of the issues there, that there is nobody else around us that we can fight.”
The friendly edge to the tension was displayed after the collision at Monza as Mazepin, who received a five-second penalty, publicly apologised to Schumacher for causing the crash.
He said: “I think that one is really simple, it was my mistake and I have no shame [in having] to apologise. I’m sure he’ll make a lot of mistakes in the future and I will make a lot of mistakes in the future and the most important thing is to remain a human.
“It was my mess-up, no discussion on it, I deserved the penalty even though it wasn’t on purpose and I was fortunate he didn’t lose too much time by it. He was able to spin the car round straightaway. It was my fault, now I just say sorry.”