Damon Hill suspects Mick Schumacher ‘found F1 harder than he thought’

Henry Valantine
Haas driver Mick Schumacher during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend. Baku, June 2022.

Damon Hill acknowledged Mick Schumacher was under “a lot of pressure” in Formula 1, which could have made life “harder than he thought” for him in the sport.

Schumacher impressed in his rookie season as he dominated alongside Nikita Mazepin at Haas, but the return of the experienced Kevin Magnussen to Formula 1 gave the German a different challenge altogether.

Magnussen scored points in three of the first four rounds of the season upon his return – including a superb fifth place finish in the opener in Bahrain – while Schumacher struggled to match his team-mate.

Several high-factor crashes did not help Schumacher’s cause in the season either, from a budgetary perspective as well as a competitive one for Haas.

While he improved as the season went on relative to his team-mate, it ultimately proved not to be enough for team principal Guenther Steiner to offer him another year with the team, plumping for experience once again in selecting Mick’s compatriot Nico Hulkenberg to run alongside Magnussen next season.

When discussing Schumacher and others to leave the sport, including Daniel Ricciardo on the F1 Nation podcast, Hill said: “The way that the sport is presented now it’s there’s a lot of very good positiveness, and that’s great.

“But underlying everything is always going to be the bottom line and the bottom line is you win or you don’t, or you’re quicker or you’re not, and that’s going to rule your life.”

“I think Mick was under a lot of scrutiny, a lot of pressure and I think that it got to him the end,” he added later in the episode on the outgoing Haas driver more specifically.

“I don’t know where he gets his advice from but I think he probably found it was harder than he thought [in] Formula 1 and there’s other aspects to it, which you only get from years of being in the sport which I think Nico Hulkenberg has had and, therefore, he can concentrate on delivering for the team and that’s why the team ultimately need people who can just do the job without putting them under stress.”

F1 Nation co-host and Sky Sports presenter Natalie Pinkham added: “I also think from Haas’ perspective, they were burned by the year of two rookies.

“Having two rookies in the team didn’t work for them, and I know it was a far less competitive car but they need a safe pair of hands, an experienced pair of hands to give them the feedback and to deliver.

“Whenever there’s points available, back them, and I guess that’s why they’ve gone for Nico.”

Schumacher is currently linked with taking on a reserve driver deal with Mercedes for the 2023 season, with team principal Toto Wolff saying the Schumacher name “belongs” with the team, after father Michael finished his career with the Silver Arrows.

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