(Reuters) - Russian Formula One driver Nikita Mazepin says he will be rooting for Ukraine to overcome England in Saturday's Euro 2020 soccer quarter-final, even if his British-based Haas team mates are doing the opposite.
Relations between Moscow and Kyiv collapsed after the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the start of a Russian-backed separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine the same year.
The unveiling of Ukraine's team jersey for the European championship sparked outrage in Russia because it featured an outline map of Ukraine that included Crimea as well as the slogan 'glory to the heroes'. It was later modified.
Mazepin, son of a Belarus-born billionaire businessman, explained his reasons:
"Ninety-nine of the people that surround me keep telling me it's coming home," said the 22-year-old rookie, referring to a popular England supporters' chant.
"I'm just hoping that it's not coming home.
"I'm really hoping that Ukraine wins because although Ukraine and Russia are two very different things right now, I was born in a time where it's our brotherly nation and I have loads of friends there."
Russia went out of the tournament after finishing last in their group.
McLaren's English driver Lando Norris said his German team boss Andreas Seidl had taken Tuesday's 2-0 defeat to England at Wembley in the last 16 surprisingly well.
"I don't know if he's just really hurt inside and he's struggling," he said sarcastically. "I'll be supporting him this weekend. I'll be by his side, holding his hand if he wants to cry or something.
"He seems alright at the moment. I hope England can go all the way and can back up everything because that will make it even better than just beating Germany or something."
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)